As we are right in the middle of the typical August heatwave, many favour lighter meals such as fish or salads. One particular favourite is salmon. This luscious, fatty, meatier fish has the flavours and textures to pair with many wines, even reds. 

Salmon in many ways is an extremely versatile fish. It can be served as a refreshing entree or as an equally delicious main course. For many wine lovers, their first thought is to pair this with a glass of white wine. While this is perfectly acceptable in most scenarios, there may be another wine pairing worth trying. 

Below, we’ll look at the salmon wine pairings to discover the best wine to pair with this fish.  

Finding a Match for Salmon: Pairing Tips to Follow

Wine pairing with salmon is quite simple. Since this fatty, meaty fish is more robust than halibut or cod, it pairs beautifully with a variety of wines. Whether baked, poached, or grilled the silky pink flakes of salmon make for a delicious dish and pairing it with the right wine elevates the experience. 

While white wine is an obvious choice, styles from sparkling, rosés and low-tannin red wines to can make an equally delectable pairing. The key to pairing salmon with wine is to keep the preparation method of the dish in mind. For example, if you are planning a dish of poached salmon with a creamy lemon dill sauce then it is best to complement with a richer white wine. 

The pairing method of contrasting can also work well with various salmon dishes. In the case of a smoked salmon dish, one wine pairing option would be a sparkling rosé – the acidity of the wine easily cuts through the saltiness and fattiness of the fish and compliments the smoked flavour. 

Focusing on either contrasting or complementing salmon with your wine pairing is a great way of ensuring that your experience is interesting and enjoyable. 

Best Wines to Pair With Salmon

Once your preparation method for your salmon dish has been decided, then you need to pick the right style of wine. While various white wines, and even most rosé wines, will act as a great companion for salmon dishes there are certain grape varieties that are best suited to this silky, fatty fish.  


Any traditional method sparkling wine such as Champagne, Cava, or Crémant would pair up beautifully with the richness of salmon. The rich autolytic character coupled with the high acidity of traditional method sparkling wines makes this pairing a nice gastronomic experience.


There are several white wines that can be matched well with salmon. However, we will focus on the classics below:

Sauvignon Blanc

A crisp Sauvignon Blanc, especially from the new world such as New Zealand or Chile, is the perfect pairing for a herb-crusted salmon in a dill butter sauce. Or if you’d like to go with an old-world Sauvignon Blanc we would recommend a crisp Sancerre. A popular method of serving salmon during the summer months, the high acidity and grassy characteristics of a Sauvignon Blanc make balancing the fattiness and herbal notes of this salmon dish a seamless experience. 

At The Small Winemakers Collection, our Mixed Savvy Sauvignon Sampler case is the perfect accompaniment for various fish-based dishes during the warmer months, especially salmon. 


Chardonnay is a classic pairing with salmon, especially buttery oaked Chardonnay from the west coast or an oaked version from Burgundy if you want to get fancy. It is delicious with salmon especially with cream or butter-based sauce such as a beurre blanc.


Rosé wines tend to be a no-brainer for many salmon dishes. From grilled to smoked and poached to paté, the medley of red fruit, dry, mineral-driven character and high acidity in rosé wines make for a wonderful salmon pairing partner. Rosé’s bright acidity cuts through the oily layers of salmon while its fruity flavours bring a level of elegance to simple salmon dishes.


The rule of thumb when pairing red wine with salmon is to select one that is low in tannins, fruit-forward and has a good backbone of acidity. 

Pinot Noir

The classic red wine pairing with salmon is Pinot Noir. While a Pinot Noir may be the last pairing you would choose for a fish course, it is surprisingly one of the best. As a light-bodied, aromatic red wine a Pinot Noir’s subtle tannin structure and red fruit character is the perfect pairing to bring out the savoury flavours of a grilled, pan-seared or baked salmon. As this red wine is a light body red and tends to have high acid, it cuts through the oiliness of salmon wonderfully without setting the pairing off-balance. 

Wine Pairing with Salmon: An Exceptional Dining Experience

While pairing wine with a dish can be heavily influenced by personal preferences, when it comes to salmon you would only be doing yourself a disservice by not trying some of the wine options mentioned above. Various styles of salmon preparation lend themselves to beautiful wine pairings that not only complement the dish but elevate it. 

For more information on how to pair salmon dishes with wine, reach out to our team at The Small Winemakers Collection and we’ll be happy to discuss the perfect wine pairings with you. 



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