Cioppino: A Classic, Rustic Seafood Stew
An Italian-American dish created in the late 1800s by Italian immigrants living next to the San Francisco shoreline, cioppino is arguably one of the most delicious stews ever to have been created! Cioppino is associated with ciuppin, which is a classic fish soup from Liguria, Italy, and with other variations like Tuscanian cacciucco andbrodetto di pesce from Abruzzo.
To make cioppino, you need Dungeness crab, shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams, and squid sourced from the Pacific Ocean. This seafood medley is given a burst of flavors with the addition of a wine sauce and fresh tomatoes, garnished with herbs and spices. It is usually served with toasted, French, or sourdough bread that is dipped into the sauce. Apart from the wine sauce, you can add to the overall experience of the dish by pairing it with the perfect glass of wine.
What Wines Pair Well With Cioppino?
The flavors in the Cioppino aren’t exactly subtle, so you would have to pick a wine that complements the dish instead of overpowering it. The right wine pairing can bring a whole new dimension to your dish. The acidity of the tomatoes in the Cioppino requires interference. So wines that have higher acidity but won’t overpower the seafood flavors would be an ideal pick. In fact, the amount of tomatoes involved in the recipe needs to be taken into account while pairing this dish with a wine. The key is to choose a wine that has moderate to low tannins, enough acidity to balance the tomatoes, and sufficient fruity undertones to complement the seafood.
Usually, pairing red wine with seafood can be disastrous as the aftertaste of this combination is quite unpleasant. However, that isn’t true in all cases — there are some red wines that are capable of not only complementing but also elevating a bowl of cioppino. You can never go wrong with a balanced white wine like Alain Gautheron Chablis. A wine like this has the perfect level of depth and crispness that will lift the cioppino sauce while harmonizing the seafood’s flavors. Even rosé wines like Chateau d’Esclans Rock Angel Rose can be perfect for seafood dishes, especially because of their flawless balance of acidity and fruity flavors. Here’s a quick guide to figure out the ideal cioppino wine pairing.
Best White Wines With Cioppino
Alain Gautheron Chablis
- Winery — Alain Gautheron
- Country/Region — France, Bourgogne, Chablis
- Type — Burgundy Chablis
- Aroma — Floral, Peach, Apricot, Earthy Scents
- Grapes — Chardonnay
- Taste — Citrus, Peach, Apple, Pineapple
- Alcohol Content — 12.5%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Cioppino, Pork, Rice Fish, Shellfish, Mild Cheese
With origins in Bourgogne, France, Alain Gautheron Chablis is a white wine made of Chardonnay. This is a classic Chablis — smooth and clean with a pure, steely taste. On the nose, you detect aromas of fresh flowers, apricot, and peach along with citrus notes. The palate is elegant and balanced with a fresh and mineralized finish.
All the wines are made by Cyril Gautheron, who offers wines at three levels: the Petit Chablis, the Chablis and the Chablis Premier Cru. The younger vines are harvested using machines while the older vines are hand-picked. All the plots at Alain Gautheron are vinified separately. The grapes are pressed immediately to ensure freshness and then fermented in the long cuverie that holds several stainless steel tanks. The wines are blended with clarity and precision to bring out the crisp flavors of the Chablis. This is undoubtedly the best white wine with cioppino.
Te Pā Sauvignon Blanc
- Winery — Te Pā
- Country/Region — New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
- Type — New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
- Aroma — Floral, Nectarine, Spice
- Grapes — Sauvignon Blanc
- Taste — Lemon, Papaya, Mango, Passion Fruit
- Alcohol Content — 13%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Cioppino, Shellfish, Goat Cheese, Vegetarian Dishes
Native to Marlborough, New Zealand, Te Pā Sauvignon Blanc is an award-winning wine with positive recognition from The Wine Advocate, TEXSOM International Wine Awards, and New Zealand Wine of the Year. The brand has a unique Maori heritage, with the founder’s family being one of the largest Marlborough clans.
Te Pā Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine that emanates slightly strong aromas of nectarine, citrus, guava, and gooseberry with floral and toasted spice notes. The palate of the beverage is quite ripe and generous in flavors of passionfruit, black currant, grilled pineapple, and fresh herbs. The finish is crisp, with subtle notes of salinity detected and lingering flavors of citrus and fresh herbs.
Best Red Wines with Cioppino
Abbona Papà Celso Dolcetto
- Winery — Abbona
- Country/Region — Italy, Piemonte, Dogliani
- Type — Northern Italy Red
- Aroma — Eucalyptus, Herbs, Floral Notes
- Grapes — Dolcetto
- Taste — Dark Fruit, Mushrooms, Almonds, Cherry
- Alcohol Content — 14%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Cioppino, Bolognese, Meaty Pasta, Heavier Risotto
Arguably the best red wine with cioppino, Papà Celso Dolcetto is the flagship wine by Abbona that delivers a unique experience when combined with seafood. Created in Piedmont, Italy, the Abbona winery is currently headed by Marziano Abbona, the son of Celso Abbona, the founder of the company. They create the highest quality wine with the perfect blend of aromas and colors.
Flavors of red plum jam and blackberry are complemented by the wine’s wide range of floral and savory notes. You also detect a pinch of spice that adds a kick, along with blood orange. The acidity is quite light, and the tannins are subtle enough to detect hints of pulpy fruit in the bottle.
Masciarelli Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva
- Winery — Masciarelli
- Country/Region — Italy, Abruzzo, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
- Type — Italian Red
- Aroma — Red Fruits, Berries, Spices
- Grapes — Montepulciano
- Taste — Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Plum, Chocolate
- Alcohol Content — 14.5%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Cioppino, Steak Tacos, Meaty Pizza, Meaty Pasta
Named after the founder Gianna Masciarelli’s wife, Marina Cvetic, Masciarelli Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva is made in their coveted San Martini sulla Marrucina estate located in the Chieti province. The grapes are hand-picked in October, and the wine is fermented in stainless steel barrels at a controlled temperature. This is followed by long-term aging in an oak barrel for about 12-18 months before the wine is bottled in French barriques. The wine has impeccably structured taste, with moderate tannins that complement the seafood. The taste of the lush raspberries and ripe red fruits is prominent, with hints of vanilla and baking spice.
Best Rosé Wine With Cioppino
Chateau d’Esclans Rock Angel Rosé
- Winery — Château d’Esclans
- Country/Region — France, Provence, Côtes de Provence
- Type — Provence Rosé
- Aroma — Red Currant, Citrus, Strawberry
- Grapes — Vermentino, Grenache
- Taste — Wheat, Peach, Cream, Strawberry, Red Apples
- Alcohol Content — 12.5%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Cioppino, Scallops, Oysters, Salmon
The crispy and fruity nature of rosé can bring together the overall flavors of the cioppino like no other. And your search for the best rosé to pair with a steaming bowl of cioppino ends right here. With origins in Cotes de Provence, France, Château d’Esclans Rock Angel Rosé partners incredibly well with seafood. It is quite similar to their Whispering Angel Rosé, but with a more complex taste profile. The founder, Sacha Lichine, aimed to create the best rosés in the world, thus setting in motion the “Rose Renaissance.”
The rosé is partially barrel-fermented in massive oak barrels. The grapes arrive at the cellar and are processed to fit the specific standards as instructed by the winemaker. Once verified, the grapes are processed by the heat exchange system and pressed. Depending upon the grade of juice produced, it is then made into barrel-fermented wine or stainless-steel fermented wine. Made using grapes such as Grenache, Vermentino, and Cinsault, the Chateau d’Esclans Rock Angel Rosé is a rich wine that not only pairs beautifully with cioppino but can also be used while making the dish. It’s an elegant and sophisticated wine with fruity notes of grapefruit and apple and a refreshing finish with some minerality.
Harmonizing food, accompaniments, and wine can help you reach the peak of culinary expertise. With this list, you can find the perfect Cioppino wine match, and let your attention to detail and th The next time you’re in the mood to serve cioppino to friends and family, serve the dish with a glass of any of the above wines to enhance the entire experience. These wines are the perfect cioppino wine match; you can even experiment with using these wines in the sauce for your cioppino. Bring a little bit of San Francisco to your table and enjoy your dinner party.