Crisp and zesty unoaked white whites, such as Pinot Gris, Albariño, Chablis, and Vinho Verde pair best with the lean and mild flavours of Sea Bass. For red wine drinkers, Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais make for an acceptable pairing, however, they are nowhere near as good as white when with Sea Bass.
The term Bass applies to a lot of types of fish, and most are unrelated. True saltwater bass are lean with few bones and provide thick fillets. Types of real Sea Bass you will encounter in restaurants or the fish market are Black Sea Bass, European Bass, and Striped Bass. All these species weigh between 1 and 3 pounds and are best served baked, grilled, pan-fried, braised, or deep-fried.
The main difference between Sea Bass and Chilean Sea Bass is that Chilean Sea Bass are much larger and oilier than Sea Bass.
Chilean Sea Bass are not part of the Bass family and are called Patagonian Toothfish. – Patagonian Toothfish are scary-looking fish that grow to about 20 pounds and have sharp pointed teeth. As they are so large, Chilean Sea Bass can be served as steaks or filets. Moderately oily, pair Chilean Sea Bass with bolder white wines that have seen some oak aging, such as Chardonnay, Viognier, White Rioja or Côte de Baun. If you wish to contrast the oily flavours of Chilean Sea Bass, select a Sauvignon Blanc or a Dry Riesling.
Chablis & Sea Bass Pairing
Sea Bass is rarely sauced and served often served plain. As it’s not an oily fish, light, crisp wines, such as Chablis, which have a chalky minerality are a must with Sea Bass. Bold wines, like an oaked Chardonnay will crush the subtle flavours of this lean and firm white fish.
Aside from its chalky flavours – which are amazing with the sea kissed sweetness of Sea Bass, Chablis features crisp flavours of green apple, lemon and pear.
Pinot Grigio & Sea Bass Pairing
If you’re eating Sea Bass at a restaurant, Pinot Grigio is guaranteed to be served by the glass on their wine list as it’s a crowd-pleaser. (all the other wines I’ve described here are most likely offered by the bottle only – which might not make sense to order if you’re the only one eating Sea Bass and everyone else is having Steak) Light, with flavours of lemon, pear, green apple and lime, a dry Pinot Grigio has plenty of acidity to amplify the mild and delicious flavours of your Sea Bass.
Crisp and refreshing, Pinot Grigio also has interesting flavours of smoke, stone and mineral, making it exceptional with grilled Sea Bass.
Albariño & Sea Bass Pairing
Albariño is a white wine known for its crisp lemon, grapefruit, apple, and peach flavours, which mix beautifully with the mild flavours of Sea Bass. Albariño can be slightly bubbly when young, which makes it perfect with deep fried Sea Bass, as the bubbles and acidity of this crisp white wine cut right through any greasy breading.
On the finish, you may detect a bitter but saline flavour that matches the ocean flavours of the Sea Bass.
Vinho Verde & Sea Bass Pairing
Vinho Verde is a blended white wine from Portugal that is slightly fizzy and features clean flavours of mineral, peach, pear, stone, green apple, gooseberry and grapefruit. The fresh effervescence of Vinho Verde elevates the mild flavours of Sea Bass without overpowering the mild and lean white meat. Even better, Vinho Verde is often dirt cheap and delicious bottles can be found for retail at about $10 or less.
Pinot Noir & Sea Bass Pairing
Not every one is a white wine drinker, and while I don’t get it, after 30 years of serving wine, there are some folks only insist on drinking red wine. So, if you are having a dinner party, and serving up Sea Bass, and want to offer up a red wine, Pinot Noir will be a great choice.
The red fruit of strawberry and cherry of Pinot Noir with the firm white flesh of Sea Bass is a mismatch, but if you serve up your Sea Bass with a tomato-based sauce, or perhaps with some greens and cherry tomatoes on the side, this pairing will work. Pinot Noir is also light, acidic and a bit earthy, so it helps enhance the mild Sea Bass flavours rather than fighting with them.
I’ve met many wine aficionados and foodies who insist Pinot Noir and Sea Bass is an amazing pairing. For the majority of us, I think we’d prefer white wine with our Sea Bass.