How to Make a Perfect Seafood Platter - With Wines to Match!
Australians are blessed to enjoy our ready access to top quality, deliciously fresh seafood to feast on no matter the season – and doubly so when you consider we have some of the best wines in the world to enjoy with it. Because when wine and seafood come together, the results are truly magical.
When matching wine with your seafood, the style of wine you choose to pair with your dish is determined by its delicacy. From the classic combination of crisp Australian Sparkling with freshly shucked oysters to grilled shellfish with a modern Chardonnay – or, for red wine lovers, salmon with Pinot Noir – there’s no shortage of wine and seafood-matching possibilities!
Perhaps the best place to begin, however, is with an all-time Australian favourite – the seafood platter. Better yet, preparing a great seafood platter couldn’t be simpler.
With just a little forward planning and minimal cooking time, you can whip up a platter that will have your friends and family watering at the mouth… all served with one or more of the sensational wines below, naturally!
MAKING THE PERFECT SEAFOOD PLATTER
The first step in making a seafood platter is sourcing your ingredients. Variety – and most importantly, freshness – is key.
Arrange your ingredients on a large plate, and aim to create a bit of drama to your composition – the first bite after all is made with the eye.
Add a few lemon and lime wedges and your choice of sauces – tartare is perhaps the most obvious choice – and enjoy what the French call your plateau de fruits de mer (plate of the fruits of the sea)!
ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS – AND WINES – FOR YOUR SEAFOOD PLATTER
Oysters are a must as they’re easy to cook, or to serve freshly shucked on ice with or without dressing. If you do cook them, consider serving from a separate dish.
Pairing Sparkling wine with freshly-shucked oysters is always a winning combination, so if choosing to enjoy oysters in their own right, make sure you have a bottle of bubbly handy!
Wine pairing with oysters: Sparkling whites.
ROCK LOBSTER OR CRAYFISH
Rock lobsters or crayfish typically play a starring role in any seafood platter thanks to their presence and succulent flavours. Serve in the shell after halving, or scoop out the tract with a small spoon and chop the meat before serving. If you’re unsure how to prepare rock lobster or cray, purchase one pre-cooked.
Wine pairing with rock lobster: Go for fuller-bodied and richer whites like Chardonnay, Roussanne, Verdelho or Viognier.
Prawns are one of Australia’s most beloved treats of the sea. Choose your favourite variety, or create options with a selection of banana, king, or tiger prawns.
If enjoying prawns fresh and unadorned, opt for Sparkling, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends, or Riesling.
When combined with Asian flavours, however, varietals like Grüner Veltliner or Gewürztraminer are simply gorgeous alternatives. If served with sauces, a chilled Rosé can also be a great choice.
Wine pairing with prawns: Sparkling, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Grüner Veltliner, Gewürztraminer, Rosé.
Balmain bugs are a genuine delicacy, similar in many ways to rock lobster in terms of flavour. They’re a wonderful addition to a platter, especially since they’re sustainably managed and wild-caught.
Wine pairing with Balmain bugs: As with rock lobster, opt for fuller-bodied and richer whites like Chardonnay, Roussanne, Verdelho or Viognier.
PIPIS AND CLAMS
Pipis and clams make a lovely addition to a platter, thanks to their delicate, sweet flavours and silky texture. Check your local regulations if you’re harvesting yourself, and make sure to purge them properly by placing them in salty water in a cool spot (not the fridge, though) for a few hours or overnight.
Wine pairing with clams: Try a zesty white like Pinot Grigio.
Crab is one of those things you just can’t go past on a platter, whether blue swimmer or mud crab. Serve with a few crackers, and have some seafood picks handy!
Simple and light crab dishes go best with a white wine that’s light on the oak with crisp acidity, making medium-weight and textural white wines your best bet.
Wine pairing with crab: Marsanne, Pinot Gris, Vermentino, Arneis and Fiano mouth-watering choices.
DELICATE OR RICH FISH
Fish makes an excellent finishing touch to any seafood platter – whether whole or filleted. Richly flavoured fish like salmon can transform a seafood platter into a full-blown gustatory indulgence.
Wine pairing with fish: For delicate fish, we suggest Marsanne, Pinot G, Arneis, or Fiano. Vermentino’s classic salty or sea spray characters, make it ideal. For richer fish, consider light to medium-weight and savoury reds like Grenache, GSM Blends, Nero d’Avola, Barbera, Pinot Noir and Merlot.
As you can see, seafood lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to the many pleasures of matching wine with the perfect seafood platter. So make your next get-together a celebration of the life aquatic – it couldn’t be simpler!
Are you a sushi and sashimi lover? Make sure to check out our Takeout Tastings: Pairing Wine and Sushi Guide. Or, if you’re looking for more seafood inspiration, we have an extensive collection of recipes that are guaranteed to hit the spot.