While enjoyable any time of year, there’s just something a little extra special about salmon in the summertime. Whether grilled on the barbecue, seared in chunks for a salad, or done zillions of other ways, it seems to add even more brightness to this sunny time of year. When it comes to wine pairing, there are so many directions you can go, but I find myself most often hitting one of the three Pinots: Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir.
Pinot Blanc is great for something light, crisp, and citrusy when you have salmon done simply. Moving up to Pinot Gris, with its common peachy or nectarine-laden stone fruit notes, is good for when your salmon’s dressed up a little more, or when you’ve added a little heat via Cajun or Thai flavours. Pinot Noir also shines when you’re in the mood for something red – the plum and berry-fruit aspects of the grape meet the fruitiness of salmon well.
Chatelaine offers a delicious-looking apricot and pistachio salmon that has a bit of sweet and savoury, with an extra dash of coriander, cumin, and cardamom bringing an extra layer of dimension. Creekside Estate Winery’s 2013 Pinot Grigio, with its smidgen of skin contact giving a nice pink hue, has flavour and texture that’ll hit those spices well and seems tailor-made for a dish like this, particularly with those bright peach notes it carries so well.
Over at FoodNetwork.ca, there’s a grilled salmon with pineapple and avocado dressing recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis that brings bright fruity notes to the fish on the barbecue. Just as bright and delicious is JoieFarm’s 2014 Pinot Blanc, crisp and juicy with apple, grapefruit, and citrus characters. The buoyant acidity in the wine will be a perfect balance for the dose of richness that avocado brings to the table.
Finally, Jamie Oliver has a super-simple salmon and potato al forno recipe, which boosts the flavour quotient with elements of fennel and parmesan cheese. Moon Curser’s 2012 Pinot Noir comes from the South Okanagan, where the extra heat brings solid ripeness, along with berry, mineral, and spice qualities that will envelope this dish wonderfully.
Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. Track him down at KurtisKolt.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @KurtisKolt.