As a general rule, a rich oily fish like salmon pairs wonderfully with medium-to-full-bodied white wines like oak-aged Chardonnay, Viognier, or White Burgundy. Even more so when often served with a cream sauce or butter.
But think about it for a moment, and it’s not so wise to generalize. Like chicken, you can serve in many different ways, plain or with sauce, and therefore match with a number of different wines.
It’s often now served grilled or smoked, opening the door to many other wine pairings. Depending on the method, if it’s served with sauce, or which kind of side, you can easily pair salmon with rosé or light-bodied, low-tannin red wines.
|1. Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2019
|2. Flourish Organic Chardonnay 2018
|3. Argiolas Costamolino Vermintino 2019
|4. Pierre-Marie Chermette Les Trois Roches Moulin-à-Vent 2018
|5. Cavicchioli 1928 Sparkling Dolce Rose
We selected what in our opinion are some of the best wines for salmon, tasting them with what we believe are the appropriate and complementary food pairings. We’ve given our reviews and comparisons below, with our final verdict at the end.
Our Best Wines for Salmon Reviews and Comparisons
1. Flourish Organic Chardonnay 2018
Let’s start with simple plain slow-roasted salmon. Cooked right and it should be soft and delicate. Pair then with an oak-aged white wine, or if you can splurge a bit with a time-aged white wine. The richness will align with the salmon to create a fuller overall taste.
Chardonnay from warmer climates works well, as the sun-ripened fruits will let the subtle and gentler flavors of the fish shine. As with this 2018 organic Chardonnay from the Californian Flourish winery.
- Variety: Chardonnay, Californian White
- Appellation: Mendocino, Northern California
- Winery: Flourish
- Alcohol: 13.8%
- Bottle Size: 750 ml
What We Like About Flourish Organic Chardonnay 2018
Especially if you’re choosing wild salmon because you’re interested or concerned about the provenance of the food that you eat, why not pair it with the right organic wine?
With Flourish Chardonnay 2018 sympathetic cultivation and stewardship of the soils and the grapes is guaranteed. And these purest of organically grown grapes produce also a shining example of a Chardonnay in taste.
It has the right balance, body, and complexity for your plain-roasted salmon. Hints of melon, notes of vanilla, and flavors of butterscotch are matched with just enough tannins, acidity, and subtle oak aging.
What We Don’t Like About Flourish Organic Chardonnay 2018
We don’t mind, but take note, that it’s a little drier than your typical Chardonnay. Maybe it needs another year or two to fully open up.
- Organic credentials
- A taste of summer!
- A bit young
2. Argiolas Costamolino Vermintino 2019
If you are looking for a more delicate pairing with more subtle green herbal notes to the wine, you can’t go wrong with a Sardinian Vermentino.
Argiolas Costamolino Vermintino 2019 will contrast the richness of the salmon and act more as a palate cleanser.
- Variety: 100% Vermentino, Italian White
- Appellation: Sardinia, Italy
- Winery: Argiolas
- Alcohol: 14%
- Bottle Size: 750 ml
What We Like About Argiolas Costamolino Vermintino 2019
Vermentino displays its origins, with the aromas of macchia, the wild mix of evergreen shrubs and herbs that cover the Sardinian landscape.
This Costamolino has fragrant notes of mint and pine, along with zesty citrus and lush stone fruit, and sweet citrus. On the palate, the tannins are fine and the acidity sharp, for a texture, balance, and finish that vibrant and lingering. But one that won’t overwhelm the simply cooked salmon.
What We Don’t Like About Argiolas Costamolino Vermintino 2019
If you like big and brash whites, then this one isn’t for you. Please just don’t drink those with delicate poached salmon!
- Straight from the Mediterranean table
- Lemony acidity will beautifully enhance fish and seafood
- Too subtle for some
3. Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2019
Another very classic preparation of salmon is to roast or poach and serve it with a creamy, lemony, or herbal sauce. This could be béarnaise, lemon dill cream sauce, or even a creamy horseradish and caper sauce. For sure, you’ll then need a richer wine to match, like this Yalumba ‘Y’ Series Viognier.
Don’t be a snob and let the screw top put you off. This is high-quality wine, earning 90 points from Wine Spectator, at an unbelievably low price. Incredible value that you don’t want to miss.
- Variety: Viognier, Australian White
- Appellation: Southern Australia
- Winery: Yalumba
- Alcohol: 14.1%
- Bottle: 750 ml
What We Like About Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2019
This Aussie beauty has a full body and lively acidity. The flavors of exotic fruits, lychee, and pineapple, meet lesser exotic ones in peach, pear, and melon. Add a twist of citrus, sharpness, and spice from grapefruit, lemongrass, and ginger, with the earthiness of jasmine and cashew. Florals and greens are overlooked either, in the form of orange blossom, honeysuckle, and chamomile.
It’s all as delicious, alluring, and silky as it sounds. Being from Australia where they know a thing or two about barbeque, it’s also wonderful with your salmon from the grill.
What We Don’t Like About Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2019
At this price, it seems harsh to criticize anything. But a strength might be its weakness, in with all those flavors, there might be a case that no one shines through
- Get it while you can
- Fantastic with BBQ salmon
- There’s a lot going on here!
4. Pierre-Marie Chermette Les Trois Roches Moulin-à-Vent 2018
You might be asking, red wine with fish? Well, the answer’s yes!
Some reds can pair with rich, steak-like fish such as salmon. Just make sure that it’s low in tannins to keep the pairing from tasting metallic. If you’re cooking your salmon skin side down on a hot oiled skillet to get it crispy, or perhaps with a tangy teriyaki glaze, you can up the tannins a bit.
Then this Gamay, Pierre-Marie Chermette Les Trois Roches Moulin-à-Vent 2018 is perfect.
- Variety: 100% Gamay
- Appellation: Moulin-à-Vent, Beaujolais, France
- Winery: Pierre-Marie Chermette
- Alcohol: 13%
- Bottle: 750 ml
What We Like About Pierre-Marie Chermette Les Trois Roches Moulin-à-Vent 2018
Gamay is often too lightweight for salmon. But this beauty is from a 5th generation family-owned winery, in the Beaujolais Crus of Moulin-à-Vent. Here, depth and power are favored.
The full-on aromas and tastes of dark forest fruits are just the recipe for your fussier salmon. Especially when combined with the right spices, florals, and tanginess. The full body of verging on velvet tannins and exuberant acidity makes it even better.
Read Related Article: Best Wine For BBQ
What We Don’t Like About Pierre-Marie Chermette Les Trois Roches Moulin-à-Vent 2018
For those who are insistent that red doesn’t go with salmon, the tannins will be too much. This one might need a little longer time to sit to smooth out the tannins.
- Smooth as silk
- Just right for Asian-style salmon
- Borderline on the tannins for turkey
5. Cavicchioli 1928 Sparkling Dolce Rose
Lastly, let’s not forget the brunch favorite of smoked salmon. Also, that it’s rarely just served on its own, but maybe with eggs or even better, with bagels, cream cheese, and salty capers.
To enjoy even more the decadence of this meal in the morning, then it has to be with a glass of sparkling wine. Even better if it’s a bold Rosé, with enough acidity and a burst of flavor to complement the salty-fishy notes. This sparkling rose of Italian Lambrusco grapes is perfect.
Cavicchioli 1928 Spumante Dolce should be drunk young and well chilled to 40°F. It’s excellent on its own as an aperitif but also tries as an ideal accompaniment to sweet and sour flavors, seafood, risotto, and filled pasta such as ravioli and tortellini. Enjoy it with fresh fruits for dessert, and it also goes well with a cheese course.
- Variety: 100% Lambrusco di Sorbara, Italian Sparkling Rose
- Appellation: Veneto, Italy
- Winery: Cavicchioli
- Alcohol: 9.5%
- Bottle Size: 750 ml
What We Like About Cavicchioli 1928 Sparkling Dolce Rose
From the Modena region of Italy, this is the color of rose petals in a stunning bottle that whispers sophistication.
At the sweeter end of the sparkle spectrum, it’s packed to bursting with jammy fruit notes of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. But balanced firstly by a soft floral bouquet, and then on the palate by subtler grapefruit and watermelon, so as to be light and refreshing.
What We Don’t Like About Cavicchioli 1928 Sparkling Dolce Rose
Despite those balancing elements, it might still be too sweet of a Prosecco for some.
- The bottle makes it an even better house gift
- Very easy drinking
- Maybe too easy. Take care, it is the morning!
This is a real tough one. After all, and as we hope that we’ve shown, the right wine pairing for salmon very much depends on how the fish is served.
However, and not only because we wouldn’t want you to miss it at a price that is outstanding. But also because of its versatility with plain and simple oven-roasted, poached, or BBQ grilled salmon. Our choice of the best wine for salmon is Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2019.
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