Best Wine with Salmon? Our 7 Favorite Pairings!

best wine with salmon

Quick Answer: If you are looking for the perfect red wine to pair with salmon, try Pinot Noir. Otherwise, Chardonnay is the perfect accompaniment to baked salmon and dishes with creamy sauces. And for salmon sushi, tartare, and other delicate salmon dishes with citrusy flavors, Sauvignon Blanc is an ideal accompaniment.

Salmon is a versatile fish that can be prepared in many different ways, from raw to grilled to smoked to baked. So when pairing wine with salmon, there are several options but it’s important to think about how the salmon was prepared and the sauces/seasoning being used.

In this article, we will explore the best wine pairings with salmon and how they enhance the overall dining experience.

Table of Contents

What are the Best Wines With Salmon?

1) Pinot Noir

pinot noir vs cabernet sauvignon

Pinot Noir is considered the classic pairing with salmon, and for good reason. The wine’s light to medium body, acidity, and fruitiness make it an excellent complement to the fish’s rich flavors.

Because the acidity in the wine cuts through the fattiness of the salmon, creating a harmonious balance between the two. Additionally, Pinot Noir has soft tannins, which help to round out the flavors of the salmon and enhance its natural sweetness. Finally, the wine’s fruitiness, with notes of cherry, raspberry, and strawberry, adds a bright and refreshing element that complements the fish’s savory flavors.

Look for Pinot Noir wines from the Russian River Valley!

2) Chardonnay

If you prefer white wine, Chardonnay is a great choice for its versatility when pairing with salmon. If you’re looking for a wine to pair with light preparations of salmon, such as those featuring citrus and lighter sauces, opt for an unoaked Chardonnay with a lighter body.

But if you’re having a poached or grilled salmon topped with hollandaise sauce, it will pair nicely with a full-bodied, oaked Chardonnay. Because the creamy texture and hints of tropical fruit and vanilla will complement the buttery richness of this delightful seafood dinner.

Try a Chardonnay from Burgundy, if looking for either light bodied or full bodied Chardonnay.

3) Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wine taste

Sauvignon Blanc is another white wine that pairs well with salmon. This crisp, acidic wine has notes of citrus, green apple, and grass that can add a refreshing element to the fish’s flavors. Sauvignon Blanc is a good choice for lighter salmon dishes, such as salmon tartare and sushi.

Plus, its typically a light to medium-bodied wine, which won’t overpower the delicate texture of salmon.

Also, Sauvignon Blanc can also pair well with salmon dishes that are prepared with herbs or citrus-based marinades, as the wine’s herbaceous and citrusy flavors can enhance those flavors in the dish.

Look for Sauvignon Blanc wines from New Zealand!

4) Rosé

best wine with salmon

For a refreshing and versatile pairing, consider a dry rosé with your salmon. Rosé has the acidity of a white wine with the fruitiness of a red wine, making it a great match for the fish’s flavors.

Rosé is particularly well-suited to grilled or smoked salmon, as the wine’s fruit notes can stand up to the smoky flavors. For example, this dish is the ideal accompaniment to your salmon eggs benedict – perfect for a brunch time drink! Better yet have a sparkling Rosé wine!

5) Sparkling Wine

Champagne or other sparkling wines can enhance the richness and decadence of the fish, while the wine’s bubbles can refresh the palate between bites. Sparkling wine is particularly well-suited to salmon dishes with a bit of spice or heat, as the wine’s effervescence can help to cool the palate.

Also, brunch is made even more delightful with a glass of bubbly wine – its effervescence and refreshing characteristics complement any salmon dish, from lox bagels to smoked salmon sandwiches. So whether you’re looking for something savory or tangy-sweet, this wine pairs perfectly with your favorite brunch meals.

6) Albariño

Spain with Priorat wine regions map

Albariño is a crisp, acidic white wine from the Rias Baixas region of Spain that pairs well with seafood, including wine. The wine’s notes of stone fruits and citrus will bring out the best in fresh wild-caught salmon, salmon tartare, or sushi dishes.

Also it contrasts nicely with heavier preparations like grilled or smoked salmon. Overall Albariño’s acidity and salinity can also help to balance out the flavors of the fish, creating a refreshing and enjoyable pairing.

7) Grenache Blanc

Grenache blanc taste profile french white wines french white wine

Grenache Blanc is a light-bodied white wine from the Rhone Valley of France that pairs well with salmon. This aromatic and fruity wine has notes from floral to citrus to stone fruits and herbs.

Typically unoaked Grenache Blanc is best suited to lighter preparations of salmon, such as poached or grilled with a light sauce and herbs. The wine’s acidity and lightness does not overwhelm the delicate flavors of the dish. Moreover, the herbal tones of this wine – think dill and dried herbs – will beautifully match with salmon, as it often includes dill in its ingredients.

However, you will find similar flavors of oak aged Chardonnay in oak aged Grenache Blanc. Therefore this would be a great pairing for salmon dishes with creamier or heavier sauces.

Different Types of Salmon Dishes

Salmon is a versatile fish that can be prepared in many different ways, each with its own unique flavor and texture. Here are some of the most popular types of salmon dishes:

  1. Grilled salmon: This is a classic preparation method for salmon. The fish is brushed with oil and grilled over high heat, resulting in a smoky, charred exterior and a tender, juicy interior.
  2. Baked salmon: This involves baking the salmon in the oven, usually with a marinade or seasoning to add flavor.
  3. Poached salmon: Poaching involves simmering the salmon in liquid, such as water or broth, until it is cooked through. Poached salmon can be served warm or chilled and is often paired with a light sauce or dressing.
  4. Smoked salmon: A cured salmon that is smoked to give it a distinct, savory flavor. Smoked salmon can be served on a bagel with cream cheese, or as an appetizer.
  5. Salmon tartare: This is a raw salmon dish that is similar to steak tartare. The salmon is finely chopped and mixed with herbs, spices, and other ingredients to create a flavorful, fresh dish.
  6. Salmon burgers: These burgers are made with ground salmon instead of beef. They can be grilled, baked, or pan-fried, and are often served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, and other toppings.
  7. Salmon sushi: This is a popular Japanese dish that features raw salmon rolled in rice and seaweed. 
  8. Salmon Teriyaki: Another popular Japanese dish that consists of salmon fillets cooked in a teriyaki glaze and served with steamed rice. The term “teriyaki” comes from the Japanese words “teri” which means “glaze” and “yaki” which means “grill”.

Tips to Pairing Wine With Salmon

  1. Consider the preparation method: The preparation method of the salmon can influence the wine pairing. For example, grilled or smoked salmon pairs well with fuller-bodied white wines or light red wines. While poached or baked salmon can be paired with lighter white wines.
  2. Consider the sauce/seasoning: The type of sauce/seasoning used in the salmon dish can also affect the wine pairing. For example, a salmon dish with a citrus-based sauce such as a lemon-butter or a citrus glaze would pair well with a crisp, acidic white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. A salmon dish with a creamy sauce such as a dill cream sauce or a hollandaise sauce would pair well with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.
  3. Consider the side dishes: The side dishes that accompany the salmon can also impact the wine pairing. For example, a salmon dish served with a salad may pair well with a crisp white wine, while a salmon dish served with a creamy mashed potato dish may pair well with a fuller-bodied white wine.


Is red or white wine better with salmon?

This is a matter of personal preference. Generally speaking, lighter white wines such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio pair best with grilled, smoked or poached salmon dishes, while fuller-bodied white wines such as Chardonnay or Viognier pair best with baked salmon dishes and those served with creamy sauces. 

Red wines such as Pinot Noir can also pair nicely with salmon dishes that feature fruity, acidic sauces or glazes. Ultimately, the best wine for a particular salmon dish will depend on the preparation method and any accompanying sauces/seasonings.

Should you drink red wine with salmon?

Yes, red wines such as Pinot Noir can pair nicely with salmon dishes that feature fruity, acidic sauces or glazes. Ultimately, the best wine for a particular salmon dish will depend on the preparation method and any accompanying sauces/seasonings.

What wine does not go with salmon?

Heavy red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah can be too strong and overpower the delicate flavor of salmon. Similarly, sweet wines such as Riesling or Moscato may not pair well with certain salmon dishes due to their sweetness.

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