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Column: The world’s most versatile seafood to serve with wine

Wine recommendations for enjoying tuna.

What’s the most wine friendly fish? Although everyone might have their own opinion, some say fresh tuna is the best. As a sleek and swift ocean swimmer, tuna has more muscle than most fish. Yellowfin tuna can reach speeds of 75 km/h! And being that fast means tuna has very little fat.

From a wine-lover’s perspective, most varietals, whether white, rosé, or red, will pair well with the firm flesh of this far ranging fish. White wines such as Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner, Viognier, Marsanne, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Fino Sherry are really good choices. But rosés which are becoming so popular in wine stores and are often similar in colour to tuna would be very appropriate, especially as it’s now spring. And even reds pair harmoniously. Think Pinot Noir. But if the tuna is barbecued, even a heavier red like Cabernet Franc or Syrah will be delightful.

Two wines I recommend for serving with tuna are from Bread and Butter Winery located in the Napa Valley of California. First, the Bread and Butter 2019 Chardonnay ($22.99). I love the aroma with its vanilla and toasted coconut scent. On the palate there a smooth buttery/butterscotch flavour with ripe peach, apple, and tropical fruit. There’s a good measure of acid to prevent the flavours from being cloying. Mellow and delicious. Chilled chardonnays should be taken out of the fridge for 15 minutes before serving.

Affordable and tasty Pinot Noirs are always a challenge to discover, but the Bread and Butter 2019 Pinot Noir ($22.99) fits the bill! It has a medium light-red colour and you’d expect it to be a thin Pinot. But that’s not the case.

There’s plenty of fresh red fruits, dried red fruit, and a hint of earthiness in the bouquet. Have a taste and you’ll be surprised at how this pale Pinot really delivers where it counts. Black cherries, kirsch, strawberries, cranberries, and a hint of cola, red licorice, and caramel plus a pinch of compost. Despite its lighter colour, it’s a smooth and tasty Pinot Noir. Chill in the fridge for half an hour before serving. Today’s recommendations are available at government stores.

Both the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir would be tasty partners with grilled tuna served with a Gazpacho recipe, and a garnish of diced cucumber, red pepper, avocado, and lemon juice. Bon appetit!

It’s been a challenging year for restaurants, and this week it became even tougher. You can help recognize the efforts of restaurant workers by nominating them for the Stand Up for Service campaign by the BC Restaurant and Food Service Association (BCRFA).

If an outstanding server, hostess, busser or sommelier recently made you feel comfortable and safe when you were dining out at a local restaurant, you can help them be recognized for a job well done. From March to May, 16 nominees will receive a token of appreciation for a job well done: a gift pack from Sumac Ridge Winery and a Save-On Foods gift certificate.  To nominate, go to BCRFA's website

Eric Hanson is a life-long Richmond resident, retired teacher and wine educator. Eric has also taught wine appreciation courses in Richmond and throughout Metro Vancouver for many years. He continues to be a journalistic ambassador for the enchanting world of wine through his weekly column.