White Fish + Albariño

Sometimes, I go to my local Trader Joe’s and they surprise me by having a type of fish other than salmon. So I go for it!

I picked up this delicate rockfish and quickly realized I had to be more careful with it than I am when cooking my usual fish, which is salmon. With salmon, I pile on spices and olive oil and toss it in the oven and it comes out delicious and perfectly ready for a glass of Pinot Noir. But for a more delicate fish, a lighter and more balanced topping and wine pairing is in order.

Introducing this one-pan wonder: baked rockfish on top of potatoes and carrots, with a light sauce of butter, garlic and lemon juice on top.

The pairing: Mettler Family Vineyards 2018 Albariño.

For a lighter, white fish, you definitely want to be careful with the wine pairing. A heavy, tannic red wine will blatantly overpower the fish and you’ll lose all the delicate flavors. The salty fish may also make a tannic wine taste metallic and weird, which is no good.

A medium red, like Pinot Noir, is a little less risky because the tannins are much lighter, however, you still have to contend with strong flavors that may not balance a lighter fish.

My choice was a zesty, citrus-noted white wine called Albariño, which I think is a perfect solution to balance the lighter flavors and saltiness of the fish. With bright acidity and elegant floral notes, this kind of wine does a great job of standing up on its own against a backdrop of fish and potatoes.