As a general rule, fatty fish like salmon pair well with strong, full-bodied white wines. Examples include Chardonnay aged in oak, Viognier, Marsanne, White Rioja, White Burgundy and White Pinot Noir. However, depending on the preparation method and sauce, you can easily pair salmon with red wine or a light, low-tannin red wine.
First, let’s discuss the very basics of salmon pairing with True Wine and then offer some salmon pairing options depending on the sauce and preparation method.
The characteristic of slow-roasted salmon will make the dish quite soft and feel the delicacy. This can be seen as another version of steak. When properly processed, the nutrients in the salmon meat are preserved. With this simple recipe, you can simply pair wine with salmon using these tips:
Pair oak-aged whites or aged whites, with stronger Meyer lemons, seeds or brûlée to spice and flavor the fish. If you have more budget, try Sonoma or Central Coast Chardonnay from California, Rioja whites from Spain, Trebbiano/Chardonnay aged in oak from Sicily, or an Australian Chardonnay from Victoria (possibly the Mornington Peninsula) or a Sémillon from the Hunter Valley. These wines will be bold and pair with the salmon and create a fuller overall flavor.
If you’re looking for a more subtle pairing with more subtle green herb notes to the wine, some great choices include Vermentino from Sardegna, Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley or Chardonnay (Mâconnais) from Burgundy. These wines will contrast the richness of the Salmon and act as a palate cleanser.
Several types of red wine pair well with different salmon dishes. You can choose red wines with low tannins. A few examples of this include a Valpolicella blend (a blend primarily of Corvina grapes), Gamay (known as Beaujolais in France), Prieto Picudo (from Spain) and Lambrusco (a bubbly red. from Italy).
Combination of wine and grilled salmon with cream sauce
A very classic way of preparing salmon is to bake or boil it perfectly and topped with something like cream, lemon, and herbs. Sauces for this style include béarnaise, lemon fennel cream sauce, fennel, and cucumber or yogurt sauce. For these, you can try the following wines:
- Chardonnay oak wood
- Australia’s Semillon
- Trebbiano blend from Sicily
- Warm climates Sauvignon Blanc (such as Napa)
- Grüner Veltliner (lighter, more herbal-friendly)
- Vermentino oak from Tuscany
Combination of wine and deep-fried salmon
In this method, the salmon is drained and cooked in a hot pan with vegetable oil. You can try to find a great recipe for Crispy Skin Salmon with Bacon and Leeks if you want to see how it’s made this way.
Wines to pair with deep-fried salmon skin:
- Garnacha / Grenache Rosé (Tavel is a good example)
- Beaujolais (light red made from Gamay grapes)
- Valpolicella blended wines
- Carignan wine
- Lambrusco wines (especially rosés)
Wine and smoked salmon combo
This is a rich, popular and much-loved salmon dish for breakfast. On toast (maybe with avocado) or serve with bagels, cream cheese and capers. The secret to incorporating this preparation method is that the wine has enough acidity and explosive flavor to complement the salty and fishy flavors. You will love it with dark rosé or sparkling wine.
Wines to pair with smoked salmon
- Sparkling Rose Wine
- Rosé wines are darker
Pairing Wine and Grilled Salmon Teriyaki Sauce
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