Meaty fish can go with red or white wines

White wines with oomph or reds with good acidity for meaty fish like swordfish.

A certain class of seafood could be called "cows that swim" or "steers with gills." The fish are meaty, fleshy, sometimes rich in fat, can take to a grill and are best served slightly rare at the center. Sounds like a beefsteak because that's their twin. Swordfish is one such fish; so are mahi-mahi, tuna, bluefish and often salmon. White wines with oomph pair well with these cuts, but they also taste delicious with red wines. The reds need merely be high in acidity and moderate in tannin and alcohol, that's all. There are many dozens of possibilities worldwide.

— Bill St. John,

Special to Tribune Newspapers

THE FOOD: Swordfish with fennel and Parmesan

Simmer 2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced, in a saucepan of water, 10 minutes; drain. Toss with 1 tablespoon butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Meanwhile, season 3 swordfish steaks with salt and cayenne pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat in an oven-safe skillet; cook fish until lightly browned on one side, 3 minutes. Arrange fennel around fish; sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Roast in 325-degree oven until fish is almost cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer fish and fennel to a platter. Deglaze skillet with 1/4 cup dry white wine. Spoon sauce over fish. Makes: 6 servings


2013 Boschendal Chardonnay-Pinot Noir, Stellenbosch, South Africa: A neat blend of 80 percent chardonnay, 20 percent pinot noir off its skins, for a rounder, richer, creamier white, rich in very ripe apple character. $15-$18

2012 Hahn Pinot Noir SLH, Santa Lucia Highlands, California: A blend of three vineyard sites, climates and terroirs, for bright cherry undergird with a dark floor of black fruit and soft tannin; really juicy. $20-$25

2012 Marco Donati Teroldego Rotaliano, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy: Super-effusive flavors of dark raspberry and blueberry (very cabernet franclike), with soft tannin, crispness and verve; terrific find. $18-$20

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