Salmon & Wines Pairings

Salmon is a rich oily fish, that won’t exactly pair with any wine you throw at it. Our favourite picks are as follows.

  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Belgian Wheat Beer
  • Sparkling Rosé
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Noir

Number 5 – Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most versatile wines out there.  With its crisp acidity, and tangy citrus flavours, it makes a great pair with Salmon as it simply cuts through those healthy omega 3 oils drawing out the best flavours of the meat.  Pair Sauvignon Blanc with Poached Salmon, Salmon with Dill, and Salmon TarTar. 

For Smoked Salmon, we’d highly recommend a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc like Kim Crawford or Oyster Bay.  These wines are explosive with refreshing flavours of grapefruit and gooseberry, which are a nice contrast against the smokey flavours of Smoked Salmon.

Number 4 – Belgian Wheat Beer

Ok, I know we’re cheating here by pairing beer with Salmon, but Wittier (Belgian Wheat Beer) is simply a star with Salmon.  These beers have a tart edge, clean finish, and full orange, lemon and spicy flavours.  Witbier lifts all those oily flavours from the Salmon from the carbonation, with its balanced structure of hops and acidity.  Try a Belgian Wheat Beer the next time you are at a brunch buffet with Salmon.  It’ll be the best orange juice you’ve ever had with Salmon, whether it is smoked or poached.  Our favourite would be Hoegaarden is it’s consistently amazing and generally easy to find on tap (plus the branded glass it comes in is legendary!).

If a Belgian Wheat Beer is not available, we’d recommend an India Pale Ale (IPA).  If you’re brave, we’d highly recommend either Muskoka Brewery’s  Mad Tom IPA  or Flying Monkey’s Smashbomb IPA  to go with your grilled Salmon.  The hoppy and tangy bitterness of these beers will dance nicely with the charred nature of the fish whilst the citrus notes cut through the oils of the Salmon.

An IPA is a bold beer, and not fit for everyone, as the tart flavours have become quite extreme as of late. So another alternative is a Cream Ale, especially grilled Salmon. Cream ale can withstand this oily fish fat content while complementing the charred flesh with the beer’s malty notes.

Number 3 – Sparkling Rosé and Salmon

Is there anything that doesn’t pair well with Sparkling Wine?  We haven’t found out the answer yet, but we’re sure having fun at the What To Pair tasting labs.  Sparkling Rosé Wine is cheerful, lively and Salmon pink in colour, which just looks delightful when placed against a dish of Salmon. 

These perky wines tend to have apple and berry notes, and high carbonation to once again ‘lift the Salmon oils’.  Their crisp acidity and slight sweetness make it perfect for a light Brunch buffet where Salmon is featured. The ever so slight sweetness of a Sparkling Rosé blend in nicely with bacon, maple syrup and jams, while the acidity will cut through the greasiness of many of the brunch dishes.

Number 2 – A Buttery California Chardonnay

Bogle ChardonnayWhen it comes to white wine, there is simply nothing better than a ‘buttery’ California Chardonnay with either a grilled or poached Salmon. These rich flavoured wines wrap themselves around each bite of Salmon, adding their signature tropical fruit flavours to each bite. It’s a perfect marriage of royalty and harmony. These buttery chardonnays will also go well with Salmon prepared in a tropical or citrus fruit sauce, with coconut milk, in a cream sauce or for smoked Salmon dishes.

One great pick is Bogle Chardonnay from California, the green apple flavours really cut through the oils, while the velvety richness of the wine merges and draws out all the great flavours of the meat.

Another lovely Chardonnay is Tawse’s Robyn Block’s Chardonnay paired with herb seasoned Salmon. This creamy Chardonnay has the bite of a macintosh apple to lift those fishy oils so the wine can seduce the tender meat within.

Number 1 – A Young and Vibrant Oregon Pinot Noir

If you want to experience the ultimate Salmon and wine pairing, pair a young Oregon Pinot Noir with either Grilled or Pan Roasted Salmon.  In fact, if you are ever in Oregon, trying their Northwest Salmon and an Oregon Pinot Noir is a must have meal.  It might seem odd, as the typical pairing for fish tends to be white wine, however, Pinot Noir is a versatile red that is similar to a white wine with its high acidity and low alcohol content.

This pairing works as Salmon is a fatty fish, and a young Oregon Pinot Noir has lots of bright acidity to cut right through this richness.  With lots of bright cherry and strawberry, on top of subtle earthy and smoky flavours, you’re well on your way towards imagining a lip-smacking delicious meal fit for a king or queen.

Pinot Noir from other regions will work out just fine, such as a Burgundy for France, or a lovely Pinot Noir from California, British Columbia or New Zealand.


Do you have a favourite Salmon and Wine Pairing? Let us know in the comments below!


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