September 20, 2021 by Arden Montgomery
Best Wine for Salmon
Salmon are magical animals. Their lives are epic: they hatch from eggs laid in freshwater, swim hundreds of miles to the ocean to mature and grow, then swim back to the same stream in which they were born to spawn and perpetuate the species. Their bodies undergo baffling biological changes that allow them to breathe both salt and freshwater, and research seems to point to them having the equivalent of a compass in their bodies which means they can navigate with the precision of a contemporary sailor. They are powerful, beautiful, and lore-rich creatures that deserve our respect and admiration.
And one of the ways we as humans can honor the lives of this all-important member of the ecosystem is by eating them reverently, using careful preparations and pairing them with select wines that help tell their story by uplifting the unique and rich flavors in salmon meat.
Here we’ll tell you a little of what we know about pairing wines with this wonderful fish, and give you a quick glance into the most salmon-friendly bottles we have in our collection.
How to Pair Wine With Salmon
The most important thing is that you are enjoying your meal. So regardless of what wine technically goes with salmon, if you have a favorite vino you’re just dying for a glass of, that’s the right wine to drink with your fish.
But if you want to get technical, here’s how it works.
Salmon is a unique puzzle in the seafood world because it is so unlike other fish. It is a dense and fatty meat with a powerful flavor which is bold and rich enough to shine through even the heaviest seasonings. This means salmon is able to stand up well to bolder and more tannic reds: a rare feat in the fish world. Salmon is also incredibly oily, however, and does best when uplifted by light whites, lighter reds, dry rosés, and a bit of bubbles here and there.
As per usual, the preparation will determine an exact match, and you want to have your recipe down pat before making your beverage selection. When in doubt, think color-match: reach for a bottle of the pink stuff.
Best Red Wine for Salmon
- 2020 Domaine Rougeot Bourgogne Passetoutgrain ‘Sans Sulfite’ – $38
- 2017 Storm Donnachadh Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir – $55
Dark and deep, like a red jewel hidden somewhere beneath the leaf litter of a redwood forest floor. This Pinot Noir lives up to the “noir” in its name, offering funky rich black fruits followed up by a surprisingly bright acidity. A ray of sunlight hitting the damp woodland soil. Sip alongside teriyaki glaze for salmon.
70% Gamay + 30% Pinot Noir. Both grapes are sourced from “Les Verchérres,” harvested at the same time and co-fermented to produce this Passetoutgrain. This wine is medium-bodied with great texture and balance. It is bright and lively on the nose with hints of bing cherry, tart cranberry, and potpourri. Crunchy red fruit shines on the forefront of the palate with earthy undertones and minerality giving the wine complexity on the mid-palate. The finish is long with velvet tannins. Enjoy with roasted salmon and sautéed mushrooms, shallots and fresh herbs
Best White Wine for Salmon
- 2019 Domaine De Oliveira Lecestre AC Chablis – $35
A clear, fresh wine with strong aromas of white flower, a hint of lemon and ripe grapefruit. On the palate it is medium bodied with flavors that develop from fruit on the forefront to earthy pine nut and chalky minerality on the long and fine finish. It’s simply begging to be served alongside a classic salmon piccata.
- 2021 Herd & Hart Western Cape Sauvignon Blanc – $20
This Sauvy B is incredibly refreshing. It has hints of tart lemon, lemon flowers, kiwi, green apple, pungent herbs and finishes off with a saltiness. It is just that touch of ocean sea breeze that reminds you it’s from the Western Cape. It is incredible with salmon poke or salmon sushi!
Best Rose Wine for Salmon
- 2020 Château Montfrin ‘Paumiste’ Rosé – $18
A courtside staple for sunny-skied tennis sessions, this rosé promises to replace mimosas as our brunch-drink-of-choice. Strawberries, peaches, citrus and sharp lavender invite you in through the nose, while pomegranate and savory herbs hold you there until the bottle has been drained. Light, tart, fragrant and fresh, this is the wine to have with bagels and lox.
- NV Delavenne Père & Fils Brut Rosé Grand Cru Champagne – $60
If you have any doubts about the above bottles, this bubbly vino is now required reading. Effervescent, fruity, and SO much fun, this versatile bottle of bubbles will pay proper tribute to salmon no matter how you’re having it. Delavenne’s mono-cru Grand Cru Bouzy Brut Rosé is created by blending Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from two selected harvests with the estate’s famous Bouzy Rouge. Expect a creamy persistent mousse and an elegant, mineral-laced finish. Treat yourself and enjoy it with Slow-Roasted Salmon with Fennel, Citrus, and Chiles!
Best Wine for Salmon from Argaux
Shop all of our fish-friendly selections: Here
And make sure to pick up Big Macs & Burgundy – Wine Pairings for the Real World by Vanessa Price to learn more about the art of food & wine pairing. It is meant as a gentle invitation to start thinking about your daily bread (guilty pleasures and all) and how you can elevate those take-out treats by drinking some truly awesome wine alongside. Her book also includes healthier and more refined fare, including recipes for our beloved fishy friend the salmon.