Monkfish pairs brilliantly with all sorts of wines due to the sheer meatiness of the flesh (writes Mat Evans, our Area Sales Manager for North Wales). Both red and white wines can work well, however very light whites are best avoided as they may be over-powered if the fish has been roasted or grilled. Full-bodied reds may also prove to be a bit much, even for monkfish. If you stick to these rules, the trick then is to match the wine to the other flavours in the dish.
For a recipe such as Grilled Monkfish with Rosemary and Caprese Salad, I would choose the Mâcon-Vergisson, La Roche, Nadine et Maurice Guerrin 2010. This is a wonderful white Burgundy made high up in the hills above the village of Vergisson. This has an excellent weight due to the naturally fuller-bodied Chardonnay grape variety it is made from, which stands up to the meaty monkfish. The classic Caprese salad will also match well. The wine has had time to develop on its lees (the yeasty sediment left after fermentation), which gives it a lovely ‘freshly baked bread’ character and creamy texture that will pair well with the mozzarella. The tomato in the salad is balanced with the lovely ripe citrus fruit and crisp acidity of the wine. This is a great value alternative to Chablis.
A dish such as Roasted Monkfish with Mixed Beans and Pancetta would call for something a little more substantial; a red wine is needed here. This is a dish typical of North Eastern Italy. The town of Piacenza is the home of pancetta, so a wine from this area would be a perfect match. The Bardolino Classico DOC, Zeni 2010 is made from Rondinella and Corvina grapes grown just above Lake Garda. It has lovely soft tannins and good acidity to complement the robust, meaty fish. It’s packed with bags of juicy red fruits too, balancing out the salty sweetness of the pancetta. This is a light, refreshing style of red wine, so remember to serve this wine a bit cooler than a fuller bodied red. Pop it in the fridge for half an hour before serving to show this wine off at its best.