Updated July 19th 2023
Which wine goes best with salmon? The best wine with salmon depends on how the fish is cooked, the side dishes added, seasonings and your personal preferences. In this guide you will learn which are the best white and red wines with salmon.
Most people think that fish should always be paired with white wine, but that is not always true. While white wine is often the best option because most fish dishes are light, it is possible to drink red wine with fish - you just need to pick the right red wine. For example, good salmon wine pairings include both red and white wines. In this guide, we have also included a list of good wine recommendations to different types of salmon dishes, such as smoked salmon, poke bowl with salmon and sushi.
For most fish dishes, we would recommend a white wine. Many white wines pair perfectly with salmon. Keep in mind that salmon is a fatty fish that requires a wine with high acidity. The side dishes and cooking method will decide which is the perfect wine with salmon.
Can you really drink red wine with fish? You can - the secret is to choose a light-bodied red wine to salmon dishes. Fish is lighter than meat because it contains less fat and has a lighter texture. Therefore, you need to find a light wine to balance a light food. Due to the tannins in red wine, it is usually not a good pairing with fish. Luckily, there are some low tannic red wines that could be a good match with your salmon.
Salmon and rosé have something in common - they are both pink! Maybe it is not a surprise that rosé wine also goes very well with many salmon dishes. Just keep in mind that there are different types of rosé wines. Some are dry with a refreshing acidty. Other rosé wines are fruitier and sweeter.
Tips! Learn more about rosé wines in our Rosé wine guide.
Salmon is a popular fish that can be prepared in many different ways. One of the most popular versions of this fish is without a doubt the smoked salmon. Its fatty texture and smokey aromas will pair perfectly with a crisp, white wine with high acidity. A Champagne or a dry Riesling are great wine pairings with smoked salmon. The freshness and acidity of these wines will balance the fat of the fish. A wine with high minerality and saltiness would also be a good choice, such as Chablis, Alvarinho/Albarino and Grüner Veltliner.
Salmon goes well with many different types of sauces, including creamy and buttery sauces. If you are having salmon pasta with cream or salmon fillets fried in butter, make sure to pair it with an equally creamy wine. An oaked Chardonnay pairs perfectly with a salmon with butter or cream sauce. An oaked Sémillon is also a good choice for this type of food. The wine's oily texture and flavor profile will match the dish.
Tips! Find out more about Chardonnay wine pairing in our extentive wine guide.
Baked salmon is usually not as heavy as fried or grilled salmon. That is why it should be paired with a lighter wine. A crisp, young Chablis is usually a great wine pairing for baked salmon, especailly if the dish contains lemon, herbs and vegetables. A dry, herbaceous rosé wine is also a good choice.
Tips! Read more about other dishes to pair with Chablis in our guide.
Red wine with fish? Yes, it is possible! Salmon is a fatty fish and when it is grilled or fried, the dish becomes bold enough to be paired with red wine. Just make sure to choose a relatively light red wine, such as Gamay or Pinot Noir. Gamay is a red grape variety which gives red wines with very low tannins. Gamay wines, such as Beaujolais Nouveau, are a great choice when you want to drink red wine with salmon.
Pinot Noir, probably the most famous grape variety for light red wines, also pairs very well with fried or grilled salmon. This wine's red berry aromas and low tannins will be a good match with this fatty fish.
If you prefer a red wine with more body, a medium-bodied Merlot can be a good choice together with grilled salmon and fatty sauces. Some people might find this wine and food combination a bit overwhelming, but if you love red wine this can be a great pairing for you.
Salmon with teriyaki sauce is an aromatic dish which is best paired with a wine that has a hint of sweetness and high acidity. A refreshing Riesling with a touch of sweetness is usually an excellent wine choice for this type of dish. A Gewürztraminer is another good wine pairing to spicy and flavorful salmon dishes, such as Teriyaki salmon.
If you want to drink red wine to your teriyaki salmon, we recommend a light-bodied and flavorful red wine such as Pinot Noir, to match the salty and sweet aromas of the dish.
If you want to drink a rosé wine, choose one with a hint of sweetness. A Zinfandel Rosé, also called White Zinfandel, is a good wine pairing to teriyaki salmon.
Salmon pasta, inlcuding salmon lasagna, is usually fatty, rich and delicious. Lemon, cream or butter is often used in the sauce and that is why this dish is best matched with an equally creamy wine with high acidity, such as an oaked Chardonnay or an oaked Sémillon. The oily textures of these wines and their flavor profile will match the dish.
Poke bowl is a fish dish full of colors and flavors. The dish has chunks of raw marinated fish, together with vegetables and umami-rich sauces. Salmon is a popular ingredient in this dish. A salmon poke bowl is best paired with a fresh white wine with a touch of sweetness, such as Riesling.
A semi-sweet rosé wine, such as Zinfandel Rosé, is also a good choice.
Sushi in general pairs best with fresh white wines with high acidity and crisp minerality. A Chablis or a refreshing and young Sémillion are excellent choices for salmon sushi. The flavor profile of the wine balances raw fish, pickled ginger and wasabi perfectly.
Tips! Find out which other wines to pair with sushi in our guide about sushi wine pairing.
Salmon is often served boiled or fried, and seasoned with herbs and lemon. A crisp Chablis or Sauvignon Blanc match with a light salmon with some herbs and lemon. Chablis with salmon is a popular pairing due to the wine's citrus flavors. Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh white wine with a caracteristic green profile. This herbaceous wine will match salmon seasoned with herbs. Both Chablis and Sauvignon Blanc have high acidity, which balances the fatty fish.
The best wine pairing for a light salmon salad is similar to the pairing for salmon with herbs and lemon. A dry, light-bodied white wine with high acidity is the best choice. Chablis or another unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Alvarinho or Vinho Verde are good choices.
Enjoy your salmon together with wine!