Salmon is a delicious, moist, and popular fish. There’s so much you can do with salmon, including roasting, searing, grilling, and poaching. However, you haven’t truly experienced salmon unless you’ve eaten it with a glass of wine.
Classic wine pairing rules are strict about serving white meats with a glass of white meats and red meats with a glass of red wine. However, which wine should salmon be served with?
Technically, salmon is not meat. Salmon is considered seafood, so do the same rules apply?
Does Red or White Wine Pair Better With Salmon?
Before we dive deeper into salmon wine pairings, there is one important question we must answer. Does salmon pair better with red or white wine?
Believe it or not, salmon pairs best with rich, medium-bodied white wines and light-bodied red wines.
Moreover, salmon can also pair with young wines aged in oak barrels. Usually, aged oak wines can overpower fish, but since salmon is so rich and luxurious, it pairs perfectly with this type of wine.
What Wine Pairs With Salmon?
White wines are usually the first pairing for salmon. However, not all white wines can be paired with salmon.
Generally speaking, medium-bodied white wines are the best pairing for salmon. Medium-bodied white wines have floral aromas and notes of apples that pair well with most salmon recipes.
Salmon With Herbs and Citrus
Herbs and citrus take salmon to the next level, so you need a wine that will complement the salmon’s flavor.
Crisp, dry white wines, including Sauvignon Blanc or Sancerre, pair perfectly with this type of salmon.
Sauvignon Blanc has herbaceous and citrus flavors that refresh your palette after taking a bite of salmon. Sancerre wine is filled with complex yet crisp flavors that complement the herbs and citrus.
Salmon With Béarnaise
Salmon served with béarnaise sauce, or a cream sauce needs a richer white wine such as lightly oaked Chardonnay. Chardonnay’s complex body pairs perfectly with the rich, creamy sauce and salmon and elevates the dish.
Asian Inspired Salmon
Asian-inspired salmon uses marinades consisting of many flavors such as soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, and ginger marinades. Therefore, Riesling wines are great for Asian-inspired dishes.
The exact flavor of Riesling depends on whether you are drinking a dry or sweeter Riesling. For example, Riesling, produced from ripe grapes, has subtle fruity notes of apple, grapefruit and pear, apricot, and peach aromas.
In contrast, sweeter Rieslings have robust notes of apple and grapefruit.
Smoked salmon is almost always paired with wine. Sparkling wines are known for their refreshing, bold flavors that pair perfectly with smoked salmon.
The robust bubbly sparkling wine helps cut through the salty flavor of the smoked salmon. Prosecco Riesling and Chablis wines are also great parings for salmon.
Slow-roasted salmon has a soft texture and delicate flavor if it’s seasoned with few ingredients. Salmon steaks have a meatier flakier texture, but when it is cooked correctly, it still has a soft meaty texture.
Plain salmon should be served with an oak-aged white wine. These wines often have hints of lemon, nuts, and sweet cremebrulee, which spices up the fish.
Chardonnay, Rioja, and Semillon are excellent pairings for slow-roasted salmon. These oak-aged wines have a complex richness that perfectly complements the slow-roasted salmon’s flavors.
Salmon plays a staple role in the Pacific Northwest’s cuisine. Since Oregon produces Pinot Gris grapes, it’s no surprise that Pinot Gris is such a perfect pairing for glazed salmon.
Pinot Gris has a rich texture and flavors of stone fruits and a pair that works wonders for glazes made from honey, ginger, or mustard.
Furthermore, you can serve your salmon with a side salad and a glass of Pinot Gris for a complete meal.
Oregon also produces Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with grilled salmon.
Pinot Noir has flavors of cherry and subtle notes of baking spice which come from the wine being aged in an oak barrel.
The paring between grilled salmon and this wine is even more beautiful if the fish is cooked on charcoal or hardwood.
The smoky flavors are absorbed into the fish, giving it an added flavor depth and contrasting nicely with the wine.
Does Rose Go With Smoked Salmon?
Rose wines pair well with most salmon dishes, including seared, roasted, poached, glazed, and grilled salmon. However, dry rose wine is best when it comes to salmon.
Dry rose wines have traits and flavors that make them the perfect pairing with salmon.
Dry rose wines are known for their fruity notes, but they also contain some acidity to balance it out and prevent the wine from overwhelming the salmon’s flavor.
Californian rose, which has a beautiful melon flavor, works really well with grilled salmon. In contrast, fruitier wines pair well with salmon that is cooked with olives and tomatoes and even salmon tacos.
Nevertheless, you don’t have to limit your wine parings to these wines. You can experiment with sparkling wines as they also complement salmon perfectly.
Rose wines such as Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Sangiovese, and even Cabernet Sauvignon pair perfectly with salmon.
Is it OK to Drink Red Wine With Salmon?
Yes, you can drink red wine with salmon. Some red wines pair well with salmon, but not all red wines pair with salmon.
Red wine can easily overpower the flavor of salmon. When choosing red wines for salmon, choose red wines with low tannin levels.
Reds wines with high tannic activity will cause the pairing to have an unpleasant metallic flavor.
For example, Gamay, Lambrusco, and Grenache red wines pair perfectly with salmon.
Other wines that work well with salmon include Chianti, Laurent, Rioja, Fleur de Camille, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Bordeaux.
A nicely seared, moist, and delicious fillet of salmon deserves to be served with the perfect wine.
Now that you know which white, red, and rose wines go with salmon, feel free to try a few different types of wine until you find the perfect pairing.