Wine with salmon: Ideas for great pairings

Salmon on a plate with wine pairing glass of wineSalmon and wine pairing

Is salmon on the menu tonight? Whether you’re cooking at home or eating out, salmon is a versatile ingredient that can be cooked in several different ways. Think poached, grilled, seared, barbecued or smoked to name but a few – and it can even be enjoyed raw in sushi and sashimi.

But what wines should you pair with salmon? There’s an array of grapes and wine styles that will happily match salmon; from crisp whites and sparkling wines to elegant rosés and light reds. It all depends on how the salmon is prepared, as this will influence both the texture and flavour of the fish.

The table below gives a quick guide to some reliable pairings, but the list is by no means exhaustive. Read on for more tips and ideas…

Styles to choose when pairing wine with salmon:

Style of salmon

Wine style

Seared or grilled salmon

Albariño, Beaujolais, Chardonnay, Chablis, Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Noir, rosé

Smoked salmon

Champagne, Chardonnay, English sparkling wine, Grüner Veltliner, Provence rosé, Riesling

Herbs and citrus

Italian whites, Sauvignon Blanc


Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, rosé


Albariño, Chablis, Provence rosé, Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde

What to drink with smoked salmon
Smoked salmon on a board with white wine pairing

Credit: ahirao_photo / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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From canapés and light summer lunches, to Christmas mornings and Scandinavian gravlax, quality smoked salmon is a classic ingredient. Champagne makes a luxury match for smoked salmon; its high acidity cuts through the richness of the fish, while its bubbles refresh your palate. But French crémants can also do the same job at a more wallet-friendly price.

Other sparkling styles will work just as well. Consider Spain’s flagship fizz Cava or Tasmanian sparklers, as well as South Africa’s Cap Classique. Matthieu Longuère MS, wine development manager of Le Cordon Bleu London, suggests a vintage English sparkling wine wine with smoked salmon canapés. ‘Thanks to its high acidity, it should also handle the saltiness of smoked salmon,’ he says.

Sparkling wines made with Chardonnay in a blanc de blancs style, are a particularly good choice with smoked salmon. But Chardonnay is not the only go-to grape. ‘For a classic smoked salmon dish with onion, capers and a slice of lemon, a Riesling will be great,’ says Jolanta Dinnadge, wine buyer at The Biltmore Mayfair.

Meanwhile for smoked salmon served Scandi-style as gravlax, Austria’s Grüner Veltliner will be a winning match. Its fresh citrus and herbal notes will complement the dill, while a kick of white-pepper spice adds interest to the pairing.

What to drink with salmon and cream sauces
A dish of salmon with creamy sauce on a table with a glass of wine

Credit: sandoclr / Getty Images

As with other fish dishes, a creamy sauce can be more of a wine pairing challenge than the main ingredient itself. You could choose a wine with brisk acidity to cut through the creaminess, or for a more subtle match choose a wine that has both fresh acidity and a touch of creaminess on the palate from oak or time on lees.

‘If the salmon is accompanied with butter and cream, you should go more for a Chardonnay with a bit of oak to highlight the fish,’ explains Wilfried Rique, formerly restaurant general manager at Hilton Hotels.

Greek Assyrtiko with its electrifying acidity, is a great foil for salmon in creamy sauces or salmon cooked in butter. An unoaked Chardonnay, such as Chablis is a reliable choice, so too bone-dry Muscadet from the Loire Valley. A pale pink Provence rosé can also work beautifully. 

What to drink with salmon and citrus flavours

Fish and citrus are often served together: think seared salmon fillet with a squeeze of fresh lemon. For me, Italian whites are a natural match here. As well as the ever-popular Pinot Grigio, look for grapes such as Vermentino, Fiano and Grillo, which makes fresh, lemony wines. Island whites from…

Source : https://www.decanter.com/learn/wine-with-salmon-food-pairing-413995/