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 Bodega Chacra ‘Sin Azufre’ Rio Negro Pinot Noir – $42
This remarkable wine is as magical as the fish it should be served with. Made entirely using sense and fermented only in cement, the end result is a soft and balanced Pinot with easygoing tannins, beautiful minerality, and a seductively floral aroma. This is the one to have with your grilled salmon steaks.
- 2018 Girolamo Russo ‘A Rina’ Etna Rosso – $42
Made from grapes grown in the volcanic soils of Mt Etna on Sicily, the A Rina brings red fruits and a quintessential smokiness to your glass. Leather and tobacco on the tongue give a boldness to the experience, but the body of this red is subtle and oh-so delicate. An incredibly versatile and food-friendly wine, have it with a serving of salmon linguine alfredo.
- 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 this grilled blackberry-glazed salmon.
Best White Wine for Salmon
- 2019 Pierre-Yves Colin Morey Bourgogne Blanc – $46
A characteristically upbeat Burgundy Chardonnay, this wine feels like drinking a breakfast blintz straight out of a bottle. Rich and acidic, the flavor profile is defined by green and yellow fruits, peaches, white flowers, and an obligatory pinch of cloves. Top your Cacio e Pepe with smoked salmon and capers, pop Edith Piaf on the turntable, and pour yourself a glass of this Colin Morey.
- 2019 Ermes Pavese Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle – $40
Lemon flowers, lemon fruit, pungent herbs and ground stones straight from the mountain soil in which its grapes were grown. Racy and mineral-forward, this gorgeous wine is a tribute to terroir and heritage: the Prié Blanc grape is found nowhere else in the world but the Italian alps in which this wine is made. It’s simply begging to be served alongside a classic Salmon Piccata.
- 2019 Granbazan Etiqueta Rías Baixas Albariño – $24
An exquisite wine made from hand-selected grapes from middle-aged vines, the aromas and flavors together create something that feels like drinking the most refined tropical cocktail one could ever hope to find. Lime blossom, mandarin, pears and marzipan wrapped up in a delicate and buttery pastry. This wine would be delicious with a side of Sweet and Spicy Salmon.
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 your Lox Bagels.
- NV Domaine de la Taille Aux Loups Triple Zéro Rosé Pet Nat – $39
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.
Best Wine for Salmon from Argaux
Argaux paired with Vanessa Price to bring you a fun and effective way to learn about wine while munching on your favorite snacks. The title of Vanessa’s book, Big Macs & Burgundy, 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. But her book also includes healthier and more refined fare, including recipes for our beloved fishy friend the salmon. Order your kit today and receive a copy of Vanessa’s book as well as 2 to 4 hand-picked bottles from the Argaux collection.