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Pairing Wine With Calamari

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“White wine with fish!” We could follow this general rule, but, as we know, in the wine world there are no strict rules. In fact, to create a better experience for the palate, while out for dinner or having a quick summer lunch in front of the sea, we could choose to drink either whites or reds.

We just need to complement the flavors of calamari by adding a more intense flavor to our dish with the wine and balance out its saltiness. For a fresh grilled squid, we might pair with a refreshing mineral dry white wine with lime, herbs and ripe fruits aromas, or opt for a light body, high acidity red with low level of tannins. Italian Vermentino, French Chardonnay, new world Sauvignon Blanc or Spanish Albarino are some of the white wines we consider. Pinot Noir, Gamay or Italian Lambrusco (red) are interesting examples on the red side.

We also have to bear in mind that different preparations require different wine options. In fact, pairing with fried calamari some may recommend drinking dry bubbles, for instance a Spanish Cava or Italian Franciacorta. Instead, if the calamari are involved in a tomato sauce-based preparation, a red with higher levels of tannins and more body, such as Italian Sangiovese may enhance the complexity of the preparation. 

Wine Characteristics to Pair With Calamari

Characteristic Detail
Sweetness Dry whites and reds
Acidity High
Tannins Low/Medium
Body Medium body whites, Light body reds
Tasting Notes Lime, Lemon, Apple, Stone Fruits, Mineral, Herbaceous, Strawberries, Red Berries, Cherry, Red Currant

Best Red Wine To Drink With Calamari

Pinot Noir

Old world Pinot Noir; due to their low/medium levels of tannins and aromas of red and dark berries they can complement a dish with calamari by adding more complexity without overwhelming the palate. Its high acidity also supports the vibrant flavor of the dish. 


These have delicate but sharp blueberry aromas, a light body and low levels of tannins, perfect to combine with a fish dish. Its subtle bitter ending will keep you wanting more!


An Italian sparkling red wine with low levels of tannins. Its fizz creates an interesting experience for both tomato-based calamari preparations and fried calamari.


More sophisticated tomato-based calamari preparations, like stuffed calamari or pasta with calamari, need to be complemented with more body and higher levels of tannins. Sangiovese can help to balance out the complexity of the preparation creating a delicious dining experience. 

Best White Wine To Drink With Calamari

Following the general rules mentioned above, white wines with high acidity, delicate herbal and lemon and stone fruit notes can enhance the calamari’s taste. The gummy texture of the squid makes this seafood a not-so-obvious but very versatile option for cooking. As a general rule we must remember to not overwhelm the dish with the wine; wine pairing can be an art form when finding the best equilibrium between the dish and the wine.


Vermentino is a fresh, mineral and vibrant wine. These characteristics can enhance the taste of the calamari and create a balanced and elegant combination ideal for any dining experience. The minerality and freshness of Vermentino will bring this dish to a new level. 


These Italian sparkling wines are made principally with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They are characterized by ripe apple and peach fruit aromas and high acidity. The high acidity and the bubbles can compensate for the grease in some fried preparations and therefore leave a refreshing feeling, making the dish lighter. 

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc wines typically have delicate flavor profiles which include herbaceous or stone fruit aromas. These aromas are then of course coupled with high acidity. As a result, it makes a great pairing for calamari – and potentially one of the more obvious options considering it is crisp and dry. 


Spanish Albarino wines may be another good option. These range from light to medium bodied and have delicate aromas of stone fruit with a herbal background. As a general rule in Spain, it tends to be paired with seafood. Additionally, they have a finishing salinity that could again pair well with calamari. 

Pairing Wine With Calamari Prepared Different Ways

Wine With Grilled Calamari

Given that we need to balance the salinity of the seafood, it is good to go with a wine that is characterized by a few things: its acidity, its minerality and aromas of herbs and ripe fruit. In this case, a Vermentino would go well. 

Wine With Fried Calamari

This dish seems simple enough but has a nice change in texture from the crispy outside batter to the supple interior, and there is more grease due to being fried in oil. In order to help clean the mouth from the greasiness and to also not make the change in texture too overwhelming, a sparkling wine such as Franciacorta or Cava would work wonders. Their bubbles and aromas of ripe apple and lemon would create a balanced contrast that creates a great dining experience. 

Wine With Pasta & Calamari

In the case of tomato-based preparations, we suggest a Gamay or a Pinot noir. Staying on the lower side of the tannins, these wines will enhance the complexity and strengths of the food without overwhelming the flavor. 

Wine With Stuffed Calamari

For stuffed calamari, there is a non-tomato based stuffing which includes garlic, parsley and parmesan cheese. To pair with this dish we suggest a New World Sauvignon blanc as it is round, aromatic and structured giving the dish a nice rounded feel and bringing all the components together nicely. On the other hand, for the more daring, we suggest a Sangiovese given that it has tight tannins and a high acidity, providing a fresh pairing for the calamari. This red adds a nice complexity without overwhelming the palate.

Wine With Calamari in Seafood Salad

There is nothing better than to have a seafood salad in front of the sea during summer. As a result of the freshness of the dish, we need to complement it with white wines that have a high acidity, delicate aromas and white low alcohol. We recommend trying to pair this preparation of calamari with an Albarino. 

Best Wine to Drink With Calamari

  • Vermentino
  • Pinot Noir
  • Franciacorta
  • Sangiovese