Which Wine Can You Serve With Salmon?

It is an undisputed fact that salmon, like most fish, pairs well with wine. However, which are the best wines to pair with this delicious fish? There are many excellent combinations, and in this article, we will take a look at some of these so that you can enjoy your salmon with a glass of wine, whether you are having it for a midweek meal or serving it at a dinner party.

Pairing Salmon with Wine

You can prepare salmon in a variety of ways, for example, you can grill it, barbecue it, roast it, sear it, or cook it in a sauce. Whichever method you choose, you can enjoy a glass of wine with it. 

Usually, you serve white wine with fish. However, salmon is meatier than many types of fish so it will pair with red wine as well although not all varietals. A lighter-bodied red wine is preferable to a full-bodied one when serving salmon. You can also drink rose wine with salmon, and even Champagne and sparkling wines. 

Salmon and White Wine

Generally, white wine pairs well with fish, including sushi and sashimi, and salmon is no exception. Because this fish is rich and oily, full-bodied white wines are the best choices. However, even though they are full-bodied they are still not as heavy as red wines so they don’t overpower the flavors of the fish. The higher acidity of white wine also complements salmon, creating a perfect balance with the richness of the fish. 

There are many white wines that you can pair with salmon including Chardonnay (both oaked and unoaked), white Rioja, white Burgundy, Marsanne, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Viognier, Semillon, Falanghina, Sicily’s Chardonnay’s blend, Trebbiano, Vermentino, and Gros Manseng.

Salmon and Red Wine

Unlike most fish, red wine does pair with steak-like salmon. However, it is a little more difficult to pair red wine with salmon than it is to pair white wine. You need to be more careful in your choice in order to bring out the flavors of the salmon and not overpower them.

Light-bodied red wines are the best choices as full-bodied red wines will overpower the flavor of the fish. 

Pinot Noir is a good choice when it comes to choosing a red wine to pair with salmon. It is light-bodied and has fruit flavors of cherry and raspberry which compliment the salmon’s buttery and rich taste. The wine also has high acidity for a red wine which balances the richness of the fish. 

Other light-bodied red wines that pair well with salmon include Pinotage, Counoise, Gamay, Lambrusco, Cinsault, Zweigelt, Grenache, Fleur de Camille, Laurent, Nebbiolo, Chianti, Rioja, Zinfandel, Nebbiolo, Bordeaux, and Blaufränkisch. 

Salmon and Rose Wine

The majority of rose wines pair well with salmon however the fish is prepared. Dry rose wines are the top choices as their fruity notes and high acidity balance salmon dishes and don’t overpower them. You don’t even have to pair the salmon with a still rose wine. Try a sparkling rose instead. It will be a match made in heaven and will turn an everyday meal into something special. 

These are the best rose wines to pair with salmon: Cabernet Sauvignon dry rose, Grenache, Sangiovese, Syrah dry rose, Pinot Noir dry rose, and Mourvèdre dry rose.

Salmon Dishes and Wine

Grilled Smoked Salmon

Grilling salmon gives it a smokey flavor. Make sure your grill is preheated before you put the salmon on it as this will help to caramelize the fish. Brush the salmon with vegetable oil to enhance this process. Make sure that you keep an eye on the salmon as you don’t want to overcook it. You will want it to flake away as you cut it with your fork. 

Grilling salmon will give a bold flavor so you will need to serve it with a red wine so that the flavors of the fish don’t overpower the wine. The best choices are red wines such as Syrah, Grenache, Beaujolais, and Zinfandel. A perfect match is Pinot Noir which brings out the meaty and rich flavors of the fish. The juicy and melon flavors of rose wine also go well with grilled salmon.

Honey Glazed Salmon

Salmon is delicious when covered in a glaze of honey, soy sauce, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Because it is a sweet and light dish, white wines with a citrusy flavor pair best. Don’t serve it with a sweet white wine as it will overpower the salmon. 

Try wines such as Viognier, Pinot Grigio,  Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc. You can also serve an off-dry Riesling but avoid sweeter Rieslings.

Baked Lemon Garlic Salmon

This is a delicious dish that is worthy of being served at a dinner party. All you have to do is to make the sauce of lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, and spices. Put the salmon on a piece of foil and pour over the sauce. Then wrap the salmon completely in the foil and put it in the oven. Wrapping the salmon in foil traps the steam and stops it from drying out. 

The fresh flavors of the salmon pair well with white wines such as acidic Sauvignon Blanc. It also goes well with oaked Chardonnay. The buttery texture complements the citrusy flavors of the fish.

Poached Salmon

Poached salmon is an easy dish to prepare and only takes a few minutes. Still, don’t dismiss such a simple dish as the right wine pairing can elevate it to another level. 

Serve poached salmon with a light and fruity wine which will blend well with the meaty taste and richness of the salmon. Good choices are Chardonnay, white Pinot Noir, and white Rioja.

Farmed Salmon

Farmed salmon generally has more fat than wild salmon so you need a fuller-bodied wine to cut through the fat and bring out the flavor of the fish. Red wine is the best choice as the tannins will help to break down the fat. Pinot Noir is a good choice but you could serve Cabernet Sauvignon with its blackberry flavors and peppery notes. 

Raw Salmon

Yes, you can eat raw salmon and it is very popular in Nordic regions as well as in Japan with its emphasis on sushi and sashimi. However, there is a slight risk of becoming ill if you eat raw salmon if it isn’t handled properly. Pregnant women, young children, old people, and those with a compromised immune system should avoid it.

However, if you are a healthy individual, go ahead and enjoy raw salmon. Try gravlax which is raw salmon, sugar, salt, and dill. The best wines to pair with raw salmon are whites and sparkling wines. They balance the acidity of the raw salmon and, as they don’t have strong flavors, they won’t overpower the dish. Excellent wines to serve are Moet & Chandan Champagne, Moscato d’Asti. Prosecco, and Clairette de Die. 

Crispy Salmon

Crispy salmon is an indulgent way to cook this fish. You need to make sure that the fish is completely dry before you start cooking it. This helps the skin to become crispy. It won’t crisp up if you put it in the pan while it is still wet. You will need to cook the skin side of the salmon first. It does take some time for the fat to render down and the skin to become crispy. Look at 6 to 7 minutes. Then turn it over and lightly cook the other side. It will only take a minute or so. 

This way of cooking salmon pairs well with a rich white wine with some minerality. Try a white Burgundy or a fruity wine like Chardonnay. You can also serve it with lighter-bodied red wines such as Grenache, Beaujolais, Lambrusco, and Carignan.

Oven Baked Salmon

Baking salmon in the oven is easy. All you have to do is brush the salmon with oil or butter and season well. Then bake for around 20 minutes. 

The meatiness of the salmon pairs well with a light-bodied red wine with just a few tannins, fruity flavors, and earthy notes. The low tannins stop the food from tasting metallic. A good choice is Beaujolais which has moderate to high acidity. The acidity helps to perk up the meal which could otherwise seem heavy. Another red wine high in acidity is Pinot Noir and this will also pair well with baked salmon.

Teriyaki Salmon

Teriyaki salmon isn’t difficult to prepare. You can either buy Teriyaki sauce or make it with soy sauce, mirin, ginger, sugar, garlic, honey, and sesame oil. Marinate the salmon in the teriyaki sauce for a couple of hours. Then glaze the salmon with sugar and honey and bake. The best wines to pair with teriyaki salmon are Chardonnay, Alberino, Verdejo, and Pinot Blanc. These wines are light-bodied and will complement the delicate flavors of the teriyaki sauce without overpowering it. Teriyaki salmon also goes well with rose and sparkling wines.

Final Thoughts

It is safe to say that salmon and wine are a match made in heaven and that, depending on how you cook it, it can be served with white, red, rose, or sparkling wine. In general, grilled and baked salmon pairs well with lighter-bodied red wines, while glazed and poached salmon are a good match for white wines. Hopefully, our list will direct you towards delicious wine and salmon combinations that are good enough to serve at a dinner party.

Leave a Comment