Paring Wine & Salmon

  • For many of us there is nothing better than enjoying a magnificent fillet of wild Alaskan salmon fresh off the grill with family and friends––except maybe an extraordinary wine to go with it…

    I decided to leave the analysis to the experts at Into Wine. Here are there thoughts. asked our panel of wine experts to suggest a great wine to pair with grilled salmon. While pinot noir seemed to rule the roost as a common favorite, chardonnay proved that wine pairing is beholden to the variances of the human palate as we had strong recommendations both for and against chardonnay.

    For a long time, the rule of thumb was red wine with meat and white wine with fish. Then people began to eat more “steak” fish like shark and tuna and salmon. At the same time, many people’s preferences, especially in the United States, switched from red wines to white wines. One of the consequences of these changes was the recommendation of Pinot Noir to Salmon dishes. Pinot’s are a lighter red that will not overpower the food. They also do not usually have a large amount of tannins. In short, they proved to be an excellent match for Salmon. To match a Pinot with Grilled Salmon, it seems to make some sense to look to the Pacific Northwest. There is something effective about matching a wine’s home to the foods. Oregon makes a wide variety of Pinot Noir’s that are excellent.

    I am going to recommend the Sineann family of Pinot Noirs. The owner/winemaker is Peter Rosback and he has been making wines at Sineann since the mid-1990’s.  Their basic Oregon Pinot Noir sells for around $30 and is very good. They also make a series of single vineyard Pinot Noirs. My favorite two are the Resonance and Schindler vineyards. These sell for around $42 and are perhaps the best Pinot Noirs being made in Oregon today. They taste great on release but are built to age for a decade or more. They are sealed with an interesting glass “cork” which is proving to be even better than traditional cork. They are big enough to stand up to the big flavors of Grilled Salmon yet not so much as to overpower the food.

    – Loren Sonkin, Featured Contributor and the Founder/Winemaker at Sonkin Cellars.

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