You are serving salmon for special occasions, and yet you are not sure which wine you should choose. As a general rule, salmon should be served along with a full-bodied white wine such as white Pinot Noir, white Burgundy, white Rioja, Viognier, and so on. You get the picture!
That’s the short answer for those who are in a rush and need to obtain a bottle or a few for the upcoming dinner.
However, if you have several minutes, keep on reading. We promise that we won’t turn you into a high flying sommelier, but we will share some pretty practical knowledge on pairing salmon and wine.
Pairing Plain Salmon with Wine
Simple and plain salmon typically ends us being mushy and soft. If it is a steak alike dish, it will be flaky and mealy. But in both cases, oak-aged wine is your best bet for a fantastic experience. In that regard, you might want to give a chance to wines such as Rioja from Spain, Paso Robles Viognier, Hunter Valley Semillon, Sicilian Trebbiano, or Californian Chardonnay. Thanks to their richness, the salmon will feel even more exquisite. For a more delicate pairing, you might want to turn towards French Sauvignon Blanc, Sardegan’s Vermentino, or Chardonnay from Burgundy. These wines tend to contrast the salmon, and instead of complementing the dish, they act as a palate cleanser.
Salmon with crispy skin
In this method, the salmon is cooked on a hot skillet. The final product will be a meaty salmon with an outstanding flaky texture. For this type of meal, you need to consider wines such as Garnacha Rose, Valpolicella blend, Beaujolais, Lambrusco, or Carignan. If you have tried some of these wines, you will have a pretty good sense of what we are aiming for.
There are several variations of glazed salmon, but they are connected with one common nominator- the use of sweetness. To that end, sometimes that can be pineapple juice, honey, agave, or even brown sugar. That’s what gives exterior its savory glaze, as well as its note of sweetness. The best wines that go with salmon glaze are white pinot noir, Gewurztraminer, dry riesling, muscat blanc, and even Lambrusco. You can go with any of these wines.
Smoked salmon is rarely served on its own. Most times, it is served with cream cheese, with salty capers, or for breakfast with eggs, avocado, or bagels. In terms of wine pairing, you need to find one with strong flavor and high acidity to match the salty notes – most people go for sparkling wine, dry white, or bold rose.
To make a great salmon chowder, you need spices such as cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and turmeric. The idea is to level up the soup to the richness of the salmon. For maximum enjoyment, the salmon chowder needs to be paired with sparkling wine.
Some of the best salmon stews include lime juice, cilantro, and tomatoes. Very often, some cooks even add a little bit of coconut milk. Salmon stew goes perfectly with Sercial Madeira, Orange Wine, or Dry Sherry.
Roasted salmon with cream sauce
This is an absolute classic – roasted classic topped with something, herbal, lemony, and creamy. Some of the best-known sauces used with roasted salmon are caper sauce, cucumber yogurt sauce, dill, lemon dill cream sauce, and bearnaise. Some of the wines that go nicely with roasted salmon topped with a creamy sauce are the Sicilian Trebbiano blend, Semillon from Australia, Sauvignon Blanc from Napa, and oak-aged Chardonnay.
Choosing wine for your salmon dish is no rocket science, nor should it be approached as a science project. Our wine logic says you should not give wine and salmon pairing a second thought as there are tons of stuff that can affect your choice. That includes the used sauces, the side dishes, and so on.
However, you need to aim for a balance that allows both the salmon and the wine to draw attention. At the same time, they don’t need to overshadow each other.
With that said, keep in mind that salmon is like no other fish as it has a very rich flavor. That means it can easily overrun any light-bodied wine. That is why full-bodied wines should be on top of your list when searching for a suitable wine to pair with your salmon dish.