Salmon is my favorite fish because it pairs deliciously with so many diverse wines. Salmon is a great combination with acid-driven white wines as well as light-bodied red wines, thus proving the “rule” that you can’t pair fish with red wines is meant to be broken! Here are a few of my favorite pairings with both white and red wines:
Salmon Paired with Cool-Climate Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is my go-to salmon and wine pairing. Cool-climate Pinot Noir tends to pair better than Pinot from warmer regions as there are more earthy notes and less fruity notes in the wine. I generally look to wines from the Sonoma Coast, Mendocino County, or Oregon. Red Car Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is a great pick that is rather inexpensive ($45) and relatively easy to find. Try Pinot Noir with grilled or pan-seared salmon but skip most marinades as they often are are too bold for the wine.
Salmon Paired with Dry Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is not usually the first wine that crosses a person’s mind when salmon is being served, but I have found that a dry, acid-driven Chenin goes magnificently with salmon! Look for a Chenin Blanc with balanced alcohol and bright acidity to cut through the fat in the salmon. A couple of favorites of mine are Michel Autran “Les Enfers Tranquilles” Vouvray and Lo-Fi Chenin Blanc…and both are under $30! Many Asian and Mediterranean marinades work well with this pairing.
Salmon Paired with Gamay
I absolutely love salmon paired with Gamay. This light-bodied, bright wine generally has tastes of red fruit and earth which makes it a great match with salmon. I love Gamay from the Loire Valley and Thierry Puzelat “Le Telquel” is one of my favorites to pair with salmon for under $20. I would also skip most marinades and stick to simply grilled, seared, or baked with this pairing.
Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the wine lover in your life? Good news…we have done the hard work for you and put together a list of a few great gifts that will fit perfectly under the Christmas tree!
For the Perpetual Student
After almost a decade, wine expert Jancis Robinson just released a fully revised edition of the Oxford Companion to Wine (4th Edition). The latest edition features 300 brand new entries along with revised maps, new insights from regional experts, and current photos. This is a must-have book for any wine lover and is a terrific Christmas gift!
For the Wine Snob Who Has Everything
If you are trying to impress a wine snob who has everything and you have a large budget, we suggest a Laguiole En Aubrac Waiters Corkscrew Wine Opener. Yes, they are expensive (starting at around $160 at Williams-Sonoma), but they are hand-crafted in France and absolutely beautiful. Sure to impress any wine snob!
For the Wine Geek
Grabbing a bottle or two of wine a wine geek will truly appreciate can be intimidating. One place you can go to grab unique wines that almost any wine enthusiast will dig is Kermit Lynch. Kermit Lynch imports some of the most authentic and beautiful wines from France and Italy. This month, he is even featuring holiday sampler packages where the wine has already been picked out for you (too easy, right?). You can be sure the wine will be both distinct and delicious.
Delicious Champagne or sparkling wine is essential for every Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebration. Whether you are sipping it as an aperitif, pairing it with shellfish, or serving it throughout the meal, sparkling wine will enhance any holiday party. Here are three picks that are not only delicious, but also very affordable!
J. Lassalle “Cachet d’Or” Premier Cru Brut
J. Lassalle “Cachet d’Or” Premier Cru Brut is one of my favorite Champagnes for under $50. The blend of equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier is aged for 36 months on the lees before disgorgement. With its incredible texture and minerality, it is a fantastic wine with shellfish or on its own. My personal pick to bring cheer to any holiday celebration! ($38)
Domaine Brazilier Méthode Trad Brut
NV Domaine Brazilier Méthode Trad Brut is a really fun choice for under $20. This blend of 50% Chenin Blanc and 50% Pineau d’Aunis from the Loire draws you in with aromas of fresh-baked bread and baked apples. The palate offers tastes of apples and nutmeg along with vibrant acidity. A definite crowd pleaser! ($14)
Le Marchesine Franciacorta DOCG Brut
My last pick is a sparkling wine from a lesser know region in Italy called Franciacorta. The region offers some nice wines that generally come in lower in price than Champagne. Le Marchesine Franciacorta DOCG Brut is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, and Pinot Nero fermented with native yeasts and aged in stainless steel. The palate shows notes of golden delicious apples, almonds, anise, and brioche with fine bubbles and a salty finish. A fantastic sparkling wine from a region most of your guests haven’t sipped from yet! ($27)
Even though I regularly drink wines from Alsace, I recently realized it has been way too long since I enjoyed an Alsatian Pinot Gris. I decided to change that so I uncorked a bottle of 2012 Famille Hugel Pinot Gris. Hugel was founded in 1639 and is run by the 12th consecutive generation of the family. The Famille Hugel Pinot Gris is 100% hand-picked Pinot Gris fermented with native yeasts. Hugel aimed to allow the purest expression of the grapes and I think they did a great job of letting the fruit shine through.
Famille Hugel Pinot Gris opens with aromas of ripe pineapple, apricot, and hazelnut. The full-bodied wine has a rich mouthfeel with tastes of ripe pear, tangerine, and lemon zest. There is also healthy acidity that brings balance and brightness to the palate. Intense yet fresh and pure. This is a really nice Pinot Gris for a very reasonable price! ($20, 14% alcohol)