Red Wine and Fish: Chemically Averse

Never pair red wine with fish.


Most of us assume that tannins in red wine make for a strong fishy aftertaste.

However, some red wines do go well with fish.

But why is that?

The Economist reports in its October 29th issue that it is not the tannins in red wine but iron that accounts for the fishy taste.

A team led by Takayuki Tamura at the Product Development Research Laboratory of Mercian Corporation in Kanagawa, Japan, tested red and white wines eaten with scallops:

As well as smelling unpleasantly fishy, the solutions formed by high-iron wines contained several volatile compounds previously known to create foul flavours reminiscent of fish, fat, oils, and even mushrooms in wines they are part of, and also the phenomenon of “greenness”. Ironically, these compounds are formed by the reaction of iron with the unsaturated fatty acids that make seafood healthier to eat than red meat.

In the future, better point your metal detector at your red wine before you dive into your fish.

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