Cod and Wine: Expert Recommendations and What to Avoid

Cod is a mild white fish with a light, sweet flavor. It’s also one of the most versatile fishes you can cook with because it pairs well with many types of seasonings and sauces. The delicate flavor of cod pairs best with wines that are just as delicate and subtle.

Seek out the Light Whites

White wines like Chablis and Sauvignon Blanc make excellent pairings with cod because they have fruity notes similar to those found in tomatoes or other herbs used in cooking cod dishes like Provençal sauce or Provençal salad dressing, which often contains tomato paste.

This category of wine is light, dry, and pairs well with the fish. Both come from France and New Zealand respectively, so they have different flavors but both are perfect for this dish. The main difference is that Sauvignon Blanc has a grapefruit flavor while Chablis has a mineral quality. Both are great choices though and your choice will ultimately come down to personal taste.

White wines are generally a safe bet because they have a low alcohol content and low tannins. Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc are all light-bodied white wines that will pair well with cod.

Since Pinot Gris is the lightest of the three, we’ll talk about that one first.

Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris)

Pinot Grigio is a fruity wine with low tannins. It has flavors of peach, pear, and citrus fruits which balance out its natural sweetness. The best way to enjoy this wine would be as an apéritif or with appetizers. It’s not really meant for drinking by itself. I recommend that you check out the following Pinot:

2021 St. Michael-Eppan San Michele Appiano Pinot Grigio Sudtirol – Alto Adige

This wine has grown in popularity and is appreciated for its freshness, nice acidity, and pleasant, lingering aftertaste. Well worth seeking out.

2021 Pradio Priara Pinot Grigio Friuli Grave

From the Pradio Italian family estate, this Pinot Grigio presents as pale yellow in color. Notes are blended wildflowers and ripe fruit (apple, pear, banana). This wine has a long finish that is fresh and lingering on the palate.

2021 Cantina Zaccagnini Terre di Chieti IGT Pinot Gris

The color is straw yellow with a very pleasant aroma. It has clear fruity notes of pear and green apple, as well as slight hints of aromatic herbs. The taste is dominated by freshness and savoriness; it’s light enough for crisp white fruit but still flavorful enough to appeal to those who prefer something on the sweeter side.

Chenin Blanc

Another good option with cod, especially with a white sauce, is Chenin Blanc. This wine is light, fresh, and dry with delicate floral notes that pair well with mild fish or seafood dishes. It is particularly good with cod that has been baked or grilled and served with a creamy white sauce. Chenin Blanc is also good with fresh fruit, especially apples and pears.

I recommend the following Chenin Blanc:

Aperture Chenin Blanc 2021

This Chenin Blanc has a floral aroma, with notes of cherry blossom and melon. This is a highly-rated Californian wine with hints of pear and lemon.

Ernesto Wickenden Vineyard, 2020 Chenin Blanc

The 2020 Foxen Chenin Blanc begins with hints of honeysuckle and acacia blossoms. This unapologetically fruity nose leads to ripe golden apples, peaches, honey, and plenty more sweet notes.

Lang & Reed 2018 Chenin Blanc (Napa Valley)

The 2018 Lang & Reed Chenin Blanc begins with aromas of ripe peaches, honeysuckle, and a hint of green apple. The palate is full and round, with notes of nectarine and green apple.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blancs are crisp with notes of grapefruit and lychee and often citrusy. They are a perfect companion for Cod, complementing the delicate flavors of the fish. They have a white, green, or yellow color and are often fruity in style. Try one of these great examples with cod:

Bread & Butter North Coast Sauvignon Blanc

This Sauvignon Blanc has bright aromas of lemon zest and hints of tropical fruit, lively flavors with citrus notes followed by a rich texture and a clean finish.

2021 Decoy California Sauvignon Blanc

Aromas of pineapple, lemon, and green apple lead the way for this crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Underneath those fresh scents is a layer of lime zest that adds another exciting dimension to what you taste, which lingers in your mouth long after each sip.

Lieu Dit Sauvignon Blanc 2017

This Sauvignon Blanc has aromas of ripe kiwi, lemon, and lime accented by hints of green apples. The palate is full and creamy with a rich mouthfeel that is balanced by crisp acidity.


Chablis is a dry white wine made in France from the Chardonnay grape. It has an acidic taste and can be enjoyed with seafood or cheese plates. Chablis wines are higher in acidity than other white wines and have a mineral quality that makes them perfect with fish. They have notes of flint and citrus, which go well with the delicate flavors of Cod.

I recommend the following Chablis:

2018 Simonnet-Febvre Les Clos. (France)

Critic tasting note: “A chalkiness on the nose of this wine blends with freshly cut lime zest, creating a vivid mix of aromas. Although the palate tones this down, it still holds immense chalky depth and freshness, despite the vintage’s ripeness. The body is generous but lifted, with a hint of lanolin accentuating the richness. This wine will be even more beautiful and chalky with age. Drink 2022–2040. Anne Krebiehl MW” – 97/100Wine Enthusiast

2019 La Chablisienne Les Clos (France)

Award tasting note: “Almondy character coupled with rich guava and pineapple, mandarin, smoky creamy and earthy herbs with acidity and honey aftertaste. Creamy and dairy notes on the palate.” – GoldInternational Wine Challenge

2019 Domaine Lavantureux Vaudesir

Critic tasting note: “Seductively perfumed, this bracing white opens with scents of white blossom and gunflint. Sheer and mineral in focus despite a remarkably hot vintage, it offers zesty, tart lemon and grapefruit flavors. Matured primarily in seasoned oak (15% new), it carries its smokier, ashen complexities elegantly. Tight in youth, the wine should open from 2025 and improve through 2040. Anna Lee C. Iijima” – 96/100Wine Enthusiast


Rosé is a great pairing with Cod Provencal. The flavors of this dish are perfect for rosé wine. It will help bring out the flavor of the tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. The light acidity in Rosé helps cut through some of the richness from the buttery cod. So, if you are making Cod Provencal head for rosé first.

I have chosen three good examples that you should try:

Rumor Rosé (Provence, France)

This is a very elegant, drinkable blush pink rosé. It has light red berry fruit and sharp citrus aromas, with a crisp, dry refreshing finish. It pairs with cured meats, fish, pasta, salads, and shellfish.

Sonoma-Cutrer Rosé of Pinot Noir (California)

This Pinot Noir blush from the Russian River Valley is a welcome change from the standard Grenache-based rosés you are probably used to. It has a bright acidity with hints of red berry fruits, pear, and stone fruit flavors. 

Whispering Angel Rosé (Provence, France)

This is an award-winning benchmark dry rose from Chateau d’EsclansinProvence.  It has notes of strawberry, raspberry, and peach with refreshing citrus and a smooth, dry finish.  Goes very well with fish dishes.

Complement the Flavors

When pairing wine with a dish, it’s important to consider both the intensity of the wine and the flavors of your food. Since Cod is such a delicate white fish with similarly delicate flavors you just need to pair a wine that will not overwhelm it. The wines I have discussed do exactly that. So, just choose your favorite from the list and you’ll have a pairing that will work with your cod dish.

What to AVOID!

Put simply, you should avoid big, powerful wines, since the intensity of their flavors will overwhelm the more nuanced flavors of the fish.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot fall under this category, as do most other reds with high tannin levels (which is what makes the wine so intense). These wines are made to age in barrels and will have lots of time to develop their flavors. There are too overpowering for a dish as delicate as cod.


If you want to know what wine to drink with cod, the answer is simple: just choose a light white wine. It’s a fish that can handle a wide range of flavors and pairings, and its mild flavor profile will allow you to experiment with your choices without worrying about overwhelming it with too much spice or intensity.

My own personal choice is Sauvignon blanc. It’s not complicated and its fruity flavors let the wine and the cod shine.

There are lots of good cod recipes out there but I recommend you check out Rasa Malaysia’s Baked Cod. Simple, full of flavor, and ready in just a few minutes.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might want to look at the Best Wine for Swordfish or the Best Wine with Grouper.