Pairing Wine With Bouillabaisse

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Bouillabaisse is considered to be a staple of Provencal cuisine. A classic fish soup coming from the city of Marseille used to be made by fishermen from parts of the fish they could not sell at the markets. Apart from at least two types of fish it usually contains seafood as well, such as mussels, even crabs and lobsters. 

As this fresh, sophisticated dish has lots of Provencal herbs as well and a complex flavor we would need to look for refreshing, light wines with medium to high acidity, citrus flavor profile and lots of complexity. 

Wine Characteristics To Pair With Bouillabaisse 

CharacteristicDetail
SweetnessDry
AcidityMedium to high
TanninsLow 
BodyLight to medium bodied whiteLight reds
Tasting NotesWhite Wine Notes – Citrus, green fruit, spice
Red Wine Notes – Red fruit

Sweetness – Due to the freshness and the salty flavors of the dish, having a dry wine is a must. 

Acidity – Medium to high acidity in the wine will help balance the saltiness of the dish and it will cut through the fish.

Tannins – If you were having a red wine with this dish, make sure to go for one with very low tannins, so that you won’t overpower your main course. 

Body – Light to medium bodied whites are a go to for this dish as it doesn’t require a full body, and the lighter wines will generally complement the fish soup. For red wines, stay with a light red, as a fuller bodied red will definitely be too much for the bouillabaisse.

Tasting Notes – Lots of citrus fruit, green fruit and a bit of spicy notes will enhance the flavor of the bouillabaisse surely. Regarding red wines, stay with those that have light red fruit aromas. 

Best Red Wine To Drink With Bouillabaisse 

If you were looking for a red wine to have with your bouillabaisse we would generally recommend staying away from heavy, high tannic reds and staying with a light, fresh, acidic red wine. 

Tannins are generally needed when there is a meat component in the dish which will need help to break it down. Since here we have fish soup which has seafood as well, you won’t be needing that, so let’s take a look at a couple of options for red wines. 

Gamay from Beaujolais

Beaujolais would definitely be a first choice since it is a light bodied wine with really low tannins. It usually has a core of red fruits as primary aromas and it is complemented with a nice spicy aroma, with a bit of earthiness. Any Beaujolais will do but if you would like to try a top tier one, go for Fleurie as one of the crus of Cote du Py from Morgon which will be slightly more structured.

Bardolino from Italy 

Bardolino is an DOC in the Veneto region in the north of Italy, located on the eastern shores of lake Garda. The wines are usually blends of Corvina and Rondinella but there are more grape varieties permitted in the blend. They are light wines, with low tannins and will do well with bouillabaisse

Best White Wine To Drink With Bouillabaisse

White wines will definitely be a better pairing with this classic french dish. Citrus flavors will give a pleasant freshness to your palate, the acidity will cleanse it and cut through the fish and the lighter body of white wines won’t overpower the dish.

White wines are a most of the time a go to choice for fish and there is a reason for that. We will be looking for wines with medium to high acidity, light to medium body, spicy flavors and aromas and a long finish. 

Aligote from Burgundy

Once a more planted grape variety than Chardonnay in this region, Aligote is a grape variety that has a stellar acidity, lots of citrus and green fruit aromas and when grown well it has an enormous flavor intensity with a bit of spice from oak. 

It will be a sip of freshness that will make your dining experience sophisticated.

Grüner Veltliner from Austria

Drifting a bit further inland from Provence, in the region of Wachau, we find wines with a huge food pairing potential. Having great acidity, lots of flavors and a nice peppery spice, Grüner Veltliner wines will make a great pairing with your bouillabaisse.

Rosé Wines To Drink With Bouillabaisse

For this dish, we will include one more chapter in our article as there are some nice recommendations that we just have to mention. Coming from Provence, the dish just makes a perfect pairing with Provence rosés. Nice freshness, lots of herbal aromas coming from the region itself with both citrus fruit and light red fruit aromas, rosés are just the perfect pairing for bouillabaisse. 

Bandol Rosé

Bandol rosés are darker expressions of rose wines with nice salmon color, good structure and a long finish. Made from Mourvedre, they have a good core of citrus fruit, with grapefruit and blood orange dominating. Some of them can experience a bit of oak aging just to add to the complexity.

Provence Rosé 

In case you like lighter rosés, we would recommend staying in the area and having any rosé from Cotes de Provence. Being a bit of a fresher style with more citrus aromas and a bit of stone fruit, it will be a nice complementing factor to your main course. 

Rosé Champagne

Now this pairing comes from our previous experience. Rosé champagnes are just a great pairing with bouillabaisse, as you have lots of complexity coming from the wines, great flavors and aromas from yeast autolysis and a bit more red fruit aromas coming from the Pinot Noir part of the champagne. 

Even if you go for a classic Cuvée with predominantly Pinot Noir in the blend, you won’t make a mistake. 

Hope you like it! 

Best Wine To Drink With Bouillabaisse

The list below are the wines that generally will complement the dish due to their acidity and freshness. Having these with your main course will make a killer pairing. 

  • Bandol Rose
  • Aligote from Burgundy
  • Rose Champagne
  • Grüner Veltliner from Austria
  • Gamay from Beaujolais

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