Pairing Wine With Salmon

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:

Grilled Salmon

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.

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