Healthy Salmon + Wine Pairings

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In their life cycle, salmon astound.

Only the strong (and lucky) survive the passage from freshwater creek to endless ocean, followed by a headwater homecoming, there to spawn and die. No wonder salmon symbolize self-sacrifice and perseverance for Coast Salish tribes in the Pacific Northwest.

Of course, on the plate—whether poached, baked or grilled—salmon is the siren of the sea, its diamond-silver skin surrounding the enticing, silky pink flakes.

The mighty salmonidae holds another tantalizing power: They’re packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and even arthritis.

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Rosés and Pinot Noirs are generally accepted as good pours for the pink pesce. But how you cook the salmon should determine the wines you pair with it. 

“The size and weight of the wine should match the richness and intensity of food,” says Erik Liedholm, wine director and partner with John Howie Restaurants in Seattle. “Grilling creates a char that goes with a New World Syrah or cooler-climate Zin. With poached salmon, a rich Chardonnay can be wonderful.”

Salmon have their own superstars—the Copper River and Yukon River runs in April and May. These salmon pack higher concentrations of Omega-3s, and their rich fillets fare best when simply grilled or seared.

“Because of the richness of the fish, you can head to Syrah,” says Liedholm.

—Risa Wyat

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Healthy Salmon + Wine Pairings

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