Which Wine Goes With Salmon

When considering food and wine pairings, there are endless opportunities to discover. As a fan of wine, a common inquiry is: what is the ideal wine to pair with salmon? The subtle, rich taste of …

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When considering food and wine pairings, there are endless opportunities to discover. As a fan of wine, a common inquiry is: what is the ideal wine to pair with salmon? The subtle, rich taste of salmon can either be elevated or overshadowed by the incorrect wine selection. In this article, I will explore the skill of pairing salmon with wine, sharing my personal expertise and understanding.

Understanding the Salmon

Before we dive into the wine pairing, let’s take a moment to appreciate the unique qualities of salmon. This popular fish is known for its rich and oily flesh, which lends itself to a variety of cooking methods. Whether grilled, baked, or smoked, salmon offers a distinct flavor profile that can range from mild to robust.

My personal favorite is a perfectly seared salmon fillet, with its crispy skin and tender, flaky flesh. This cooking method brings out the natural flavors of the fish, making it a versatile option for pairing with different wines.

White Wines: The Classic Choice

When it comes to pairing wine with salmon, white wines are often the go-to choice. The crisp acidity and fruity notes of white wines complement the delicate flavors of the fish. One classic pairing that never fails is a Chardonnay.

Chardonnay, especially those from cooler climates, offers a balance of oakiness and fruitiness that beautifully pairs with salmon. Look for a Chardonnay with subtle oak flavors and hints of citrus and apple. The creamy texture of the wine complements the buttery texture of the fish.

However, don’t limit yourself to just Chardonnay. Explore other white wine options like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, or Riesling. Each of these wines brings its own unique characteristics, adding a different dimension to your salmon pairing experience.

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Red Wines: Breaking Tradition

While white wines are the traditional choice for seafood pairing, don’t be afraid to think outside the box and consider red wines when pairing with salmon. Some salmon preparations, like grilled or smoked salmon, can handle the bolder flavors of red wines.

Pinot Noir is a red wine that works surprisingly well with salmon. Its lighter body and fruity notes complement the richness of the fish without overpowering it. Look for a Pinot Noir with bright acidity and flavors of cherry and raspberry.

Another red wine option to consider is a light-bodied Merlot. With its smooth tannins and flavors of plum and currant, a well-balanced Merlot can be a delightful companion to salmon.

Rosé: The Middle Ground

If you’re still torn between white and red wines, why not try a refreshing glass of rosé? Rosé wines offer a balance between the crispness of white wines and the fruitiness of red wines, making them a great choice for salmon pairing.

An off-dry rosé with flavors of strawberry and watermelon can provide a pleasing contrast to the richness of the salmon. Its vibrant acidity and subtle sweetness create a harmonious pairing that will delight your taste buds.


Pairing wine with salmon is an exciting journey of discovery. While white wines like Chardonnay are the classic choice, don’t be afraid to explore red wines like Pinot Noir or even opt for a refreshing rosé. Remember, personal taste preferences play a significant role in finding the perfect match. So, gather your favorite bottles and start experimenting to find your own winning combination!

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John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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