Chatelaine Kitchen

This month’s perfect pairing: Grilled salmon and pinot noir

Sommelier Sara d’Amato and our kitchen present September’s ideal match

Cedar plank salmon with french lentils.

Cedar plank salmon with french lentils.
Photo, Sian Richards.


Serving red wine with fish is heresy, right? Nope! Many red wines go delightfully well with fish. A useful trick when pairing is to take a tip from the locals: What foods are eaten in the region where the wine is produced? In Oregon, the pinot noir is world-class, and grilled Pacific salmon is a wine-country specialty. Why? Pinot noir is naturally low in tannins (the compounds that make your mouth pucker). Because tannins interact with fish to create an off-putting metallic flavour, heavy red wines (like cabernets) are the enemy, but low-tannin pinot noir works. On top of this, pinot noir has more acidity than most red wines — acid in wine acts like a squeeze of lemon on fish to freshen your palate and perk up the meal’s flavours. Pairing pinot noir with salmon is so successful it’s now considered classic.

Cedar works with the wine, but stay away from excessively sweet maple syrup. The earthiness of lentils and mushrooms enhances the wine’s delicate fruit. Using small French Puy lentils adds to the dish’s sophistication, making it ideal for entertaining. Try these wines with our cedar plank salmon with french lentils.

Perfect pairing: Pinot Noir

wine_pinot noir stoneleigh

Distinctive and complex
Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir, from $10. 

wine_Como Sur bicycleta

Effortless and approachable
Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir, from $11.

wine_Pinot Noir Bourgogne

Classic and elegant
Louis Latour Pinot Noir, from $20.