Herring Pairing: New Catch Holland Herring and wine?

One cool June afternoon, standing by a harbor in Holland, I tilted my head back and lowered a fish covered in raw onions into my mouth. Frankly, I couldn’t stand it.

Granted, I was in college backpacking through Europe at the time and I admit that having scarfed down platters of sushi in the interim, the herring now sounds intriguing. Now is the time to find out if it is: New Catch Holland Herring, a short-lived seasonal treat, arrives in NYC June 9th. The epicenter of these fresh, briefly cured fishes seems to be Russ & Daughters (but they are available at other restaurants throughout the city). Joshua Russ Tupper recommends the traditional method of enjoying the herrings: dredging the fillets in freshly chopped onion, holding them by the tail and devouring without utensils.

Mixologists in the city are suggesting spirits pairings for this delicacy. But certainly wine should be on the table (assuming it’s not eaten while standing up). Help the Dutch and those around the world able to try the herrings: Which would you choose? Or is it…impossible?!?

The image here is a reduced size image from a NY mag post on the topic.

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21 Responses to “Herring Pairing: New Catch Holland Herring and wine?”

  1. Barbadillo Manzanilla en Rama would be my suggestion. I think they would go perfectly…

  2. It’s not quite the same thing, but I serve pickled herring all the time as an appetizer. I love it with Albariño or Torrontes.

    Actually, aren’t the raw onions a rougher pairing than the oily fish? Maybe it’s just the heartburn I get, but I can’t imagine being able to enjoy wine after chewing raw onions, even finely diced ones.

  3. Benito – impossible?!?!?

    How about a rosé or a muscadet?

  4. Dr. Vino–I don’t know if it’s impossible, raw onions just seemed the tougher part of the challenge for me. That’s probably just me being weird, as I could eat herring all day long. A lot of the tinned sardines in the US are really just herring.

    I’ve been to the Netherlands twice and oddly didn’t have herring there, but with all other native Dutch food (not my favorite cuisine) I drank beer. Mostly Grolsch.

  5. I don’t like herring either, depsite my Scandinavian heritage. But, if I had to eat it, I think a dry Vouvray might work.

  6. Champagne.

  7. OK, guys, a confirmed dutch guy here. First, forget the onions. Just the herring. First, I’d have jenever–a real dutch one such as Ketel Een. (Ketel 1). If that’s not available, I’d have maybe a sancerre or champagne.

    Nieuw haring (new herring) is really terrific!

  8. Thanks for stopping by, Wilfred! Spirits do seem to have the upper hand in popular conception of this pairing, for better or for worse. Thanks for the “drink local” recs from Holland! (And funny there’s a Ketel 1 jenever, which seems as if it would be the subject of a dispute with the vodka brand…)

  9. […] Herring Pairing: New Catch Holland Herring and wine? | Dr Vino's … […]

  10. Try a Bokisch 2009 Terra Alta Vineyard Albariño to go with the herring. I tried it recently with grilled salmon slathered with a butter made from salty Kalamata olives and salty Dijon mustard. The wine’s mineral-laced, citrus acidity bit right through the salty butter, but would probably stand up well to all that challenging seafood saltiness.

  11. I’m also from Holland – and I am not very proud of the dutch cuisine, but Herring is one of the few things that are really worth checking out (also very good: smoked eel and mackerel, little grey dutch shrimps and in this time of the year Lobster from the Oosterschelde).

    I love my herring with a good bone dry riesling – preferably a spätlese from the Pfalz, Germany.

  12. C’mon, NO food pairing is impossible because technically Riesling goes with everything! 🙂

  13. Sorry but best with Hering Is a good german Pils beer.

  14. Talisker 10

  15. Aalborg akvavit, so cold that in a nano second it will become ice. Drunk
    from a crystalline shot glass. — Howard G. Goldberg

  16. Howard, this is it the perfect match !!

  17. 2 words: Fino Sherry. Seriously a MAGIC combination.

  18. Manzanilla, riesling, Vouvray… I live just 50km from Holland and I like herring, but my favourite is eel, mmm!

  19. How about a decent red wine and skipping the herring!

  20. Hey there,

    A dutch guy here, been working in the wine world for a year now, and this question has fascinated me ever since I drunk wine: 4 years ago. After 4 years, in my opinion the best WINE combination is Manzanilla sherry. The salty sea-shore taste of the herring goes very well with the nutty flavors and dry style of the Manzanilla sherry. Truth be told, and Wilfred said something like it in his answer; the best pairing is not wine but with “Corenwijn”. It is a product comparable to Genever, but instead of containing 1-3% maltwine (Moutwijn in dutch), the compound giving Genever it’s unique taste, Corenwijn contains more than 51% Maltwine. It has a very special flavor profile you won’t find in any other drink. Somehow combining this with “Hollandse Nieuwe” is sublime.

    So: straight from the freezer at -15 degrees Celsius served Corenwijn and fresh Hollandse Nieuwe. You won’t believe what you taste.


  21. My big beef is that Nieuw Haring isn’t available
    in the U.S.A. Damn, guess I’ll just have to keep coming back to my second home in Amsterdam.

    Brodje Haring (herring sandwich) is good too, with onions. . . mmmmm….

    I don’t need booze to wash it down, but if you drink, I’d recommend something neutral like a Pilsner (Pils) so you don’t interfere with the fantastic semi-raw herring. . .


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