Fish and chips, a quintessential British dish known for its crispy battered fish and golden fries, generally pairs with light beers or crisp white wines. However, the idea of pairing it with a Coombsville Syrah from Napa Valley, known for its peppery and dark fruity characteristics, invites an intriguing culinary challenge. This thesis explores the necessary modifications to elevate the traditional fish and chips to harmonize with the bold flavors of a Coombsville Syrah, emphasizing the wine's unique profile influenced by its cooler climate and volcanic soil.

Characteristics of Coombsville Syrah

A bottle of Faust 2021 The Hour Syrah was used as a reference in this exercise.

Coombsville Syrah is distinctive, marked by its rich dark fruit flavors, notably blackberry and plum, and a peppery, spicy undertone that complements its smooth tannins and bright acidity. The cooler climate of the Coombsville AVA, along with its volcanic soil, contributes to the wine's pronounced acidity and mineral notes, making it an elegant yet powerful expression of Syrah.

Modifying Fish and Chips for Coombsville Syrah

To create a harmonious pairing with Coombsville Syrah, each component of fish and chips can be thoughtfully adjusted:

1. Fish Selection and Preparation

  • Type of Fish: Opt for richer, oilier fish like salmon or mackerel instead of traditional white fish. The natural oils and flavors of these fish can better withstand the robustness of Syrah.
  • Marination: Infuse the fish with a marinade of garlic, herbs (such as thyme and rosemary), and a splash of Syrah itself before battering. This will not only enhance the fish’s flavor but also subtly incorporate the wine's profile into the dish.
Fish and Chips and Coombsville Syrah

2. Batter Innovation

  • Incorporation of Spices: Introduce smoked paprika and a hint of cayenne pepper into the batter to complement the spicy notes of the Syrah.
  • Wine in Batter: Replace some liquid in the batter with Syrah to bring a subtle fruitiness to the crust, creating a direct link between the dish and the wine.

3. Chips and Accompaniments

  • Herbed Chips: Season the chips with coarse sea salt and a mix of dried herbs like oregano and sage to match the earthy tones of the wine.
  • Rich Dipping Sauces: Serve with a side of aioli infused with a reduction of Coombsville Syrah and cracked black pepper, enhancing both the food and the wine when tasted together.

Serving and Presentation

Serve the fish and chips on a simple, rustic platter that emphasizes the gourmet upgrade. The fish should be plated with a lemon wedge to add a fresh burst of acidity that can cut through the richness and align with the Syrah's bright profile. The presentation should invite a casual yet sophisticated dining experience, allowing the flavors to meld seamlessly.


By reimagining the classic fish and chips with a focus on richer fish, a spiced and wine-infused batter, and complementary accompaniments, this dish can be transformed to pair exquisitely with a Coombsville Syrah. These modifications not only elevate the dish but also highlight the versatility of Syrah as a pairing wine beyond its traditional matches. This pairing respects the integrity of both the wine and the dish, creating a gastronomic synergy that enhances the dining experience, proving that even the most unlikely pairings can result in culinary excellence.

Fish and Chips and Coombsville Syrah