What Wines Go With Salmon?


“It’s not pink! It’s salmon!” Been there, said that. The truth is, salmon is more than just a fun color to trick your boyfriend into wearing. (Yes, we’ll discuss the elephant in the room and we are also thinking of the “Friends” episode where Ross wears a pink sweater and claims its salmon) Aside from the color of clothing, salmon also happens to be a delicious food that you should be eating, because as we said, it’s delicious. 

Well, that and it also happens to be incredibly healthy and is well praised for its many health benefits. In the fish world, salmon is kind of a big deal; perhaps even the fish version of “Dr. Phil...but edible. This pink, buttery, fatty fish is filled with nutrients that reduce risk factors for several diseases, such as Heart disease. For example, it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is a great source of protein and provides 22-25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounce serving. Additionally, it is high in all of the B vitamins, is a good source of potassium and is packed with selenium. 

So, you might be already sold on fish because of its deliciousness and healthiness, but you’re overwhelmed and intimidated at the idea of making it. We admit it, preparing salmon recipes can be extremely intimidating. Mainly because there are so many types. And in addition to the multiple types of salmon, from farm raised to wild line caught to Atlantic, salmon comes from a ton of different regions. Oh yeah, and there are different things you need to keep in mind like flash-frozen, sushi-grade, steelhead….are you stressed yet? We are. And we prepare salmon regularly. 

So, we’re not here to discuss all of the different kinds of salmon you can purchase. We trust your judgment, because you’re clearly an incredibly intelligent person, you’re reading this blog post after all. But we’ll level with you: keep in mind we’re a zero sugar wine company who is just trying to find more excuses to talk about wine, and in particular, our wine. But, we’re also extremely passionate about salmon. So, to encourage you to eat this delightful and nutritious fish (in any form or type you decide) and break out of your shell, we’ve come up with this ultimate guide, so you know how to eat your salmon and drink with it, too. 

Does Wine Go Well With Seafood?

Okay, let’s just start by stating our belief: wine goes with everything, from a refreshing gust of wind to seafood. But in particular, we believe seafood and wine go together seamlessly. Overall, delicate fish and light shellfish go best with similarly delicate, light white wines. We understand that pairing wine with fish or seafood can be a little intimidating, so that’s precisely why we’re writing this blog of a few friendly tips, girl to girl.

Here is a little  breakdown: 

White fish in butter and cream sauces are your excuse to drink white wine, specifically Chardonnay.  If the white fish is in a more citrusy sauce, reach for a zesty wine. 

For oily and darker fish, pairing wine can be a little more complicated and truly depends how the fish is prepared. For example, if it is cooked with lemon and capers, reach for a light-bodied wine like Zinfandel or Gamay from Beaujolais, but with a heavier sauce, like mushrooms, Pinot Noir can be a great fit. Stay away from really heavy bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, because it's just a little too much.  

If we're being honest, sparkling wines are kind of a rogue horse— so we say drink them with whatever strikes your fancy. 

Yes, we said it, some seafood and fish can pair well with red wine. Read it again, we said it, and we meant it. You can fight us on this, but we’ll be too busy enjoying our wine and fish. Yes, we acknowledge that as a rule of thumb, red wine is known for pairing with meat and white wine pairs with fish and chicken. This is mainly because people sometimes believe that red wine tannins, when eaten with seafood or fish, can leave a not so delicious aftertaste.  

Wine and Salmon

Like the color, salmon is a versatile fish that can go with a lot of different wines—deciding what is the best wine to pair your salmon with really depends on what type of salmon you purchased and how you’re preparing it. And as salmon lovers, we can assure you there are tons of different ways to prepare salmon, and all are equally delicious! From poaching, to pan frying, broiling, skillet, and grilled, salmon does it all. Literally. 

In general, red wines are not good friends to salmon because their flavors counteract each other. But there are times, as we discussed with seafood and red wine, where red wine can be a good friend to salmon. When in doubt, a lighter red with low tannins, think pinot and grenache, is great with crispy salmon prepared on the grill or smoked, or even a glazed salmon with brown sugar. But, if you’re not convinced, when in doubt, an herbaceous chardonnay is always a safe bet to pair with your salmon because its flavors are not pronounced. 

Fun Wine Pairings

Seared Salmon Filets and Chardonnay 

If you’re a newbie in the salmon pairings world, stick with the basics. A full-bodied Chardonnay complements the rich flavors in salmon fillets. Especially if the salmon has been prepared with butter and cream, then it is made for a glass of chardonnay from California. 

This is a good bet for pairing with sushi or sashimi as well.  

If you’re wondering, we’re pretty into The Cozy Apron’s pan-seared salmon with a nice glass of chardonnay, oaked or unoaked. With its refreshing Mediterranean salsa fresca, this is a food pairing that truly makes you feel like you’re treating yourself. And even those of us who aren’t great at plating their meals, the meal still looks delicious. 

Smoked Salmon and Riesling 

If you’re looking to make smoked salmon, congratulations, you are way more patient than we are! Smoke wine is fancy, and therefore, is commonly associated with champagne. But, smoked salmon can go with a variety of different wines. For example: Riesling because it's crisp, it pairs well with the meaty, rich smoked salmon flavor. For the record, the next time we’re at our parents, we’re considering having our dads make us Vindulge’s easy tender smoked salmon to pair with the bottle of Riesling we bring because we’re mature like that. But in all honesty, we can’t get enough of this tender fish that defies the common complaint that salmon is dry 

Herbs and Citrus and Sauvigon Blanc 

Because it's zesty and delightfully filled with fruity flavors like citrus, Sauvignon Blanc is made for drinking alongside a delicious salmon dish. In particular, Sauvignon Blanc’s high acidity and flavor profile balances the fattiness of salmon and complements the herbs used in recipes. That’s why we pop open a Bev Blanc whenever we even think about making Skinnytaste’s baked salmon. But really, this dish is simple, filled with fresh salmon and lots of fresh herbs and is really freaking delicious. 

Sweet Spice, Teriyaki, or Ginger Salmon and Pinot Gris 

Spicy and sassy, just like our personalities, taste even better with a refreshing glass of Pinot Gris. This dry white is filled with stone fruit flavors and rich texture of the wine are great for salmon dishes that are made with marinades like mustard or even gingery flavors. That’s why whenever we make Gimme Some Oven’s honey mustard salmon, we have a can of Bev Gris in our hand. This dish is sassy, with a bit of a kick, kind of like us! 

Salmon Tacos and Rose 

Honestly, it’s embarrassing that we’ve made it to this part of our blog without mentioning rose. What the actual heck are we thinking? Because rosé wine is juicy, pairing with grilled fish is honestly our dream come true. That’s why we’re not waiting til Tuesday to make Gimme Delicious’ Blackened Salmon Tacos and popping open a can off Bev Rose.