Picking a Pinot for salmon

A few things I learned about pairing wine and food; for dessert, as a rule of thumb your wine should always be sweeter than your food, and, Pinot Noir is the ideal pairing for salmon. You can pair Pinot Noir with many other foods, but you can’t pair salmon with any other reds. I’m having salmon for dinner tomorrow, so I spent a few minutes today figuring out which wine I want with it. It also ended up being a fun little experiment on vintages.


I poured myself two small glasses of wine; a 2009 and 2010 Seven of Hearts Pinot Noir Willamette Valley. Same wine, same sites, same soils, same clones. One vintage apart. Makes all the difference.


Although Pinot Noir typically gets darker with age, in this case the 2010 (left) is darker than the 2009 (right)

When I first tried the wines, 2010 > 2009. I was unhappy with the finish on the 2009. It was too tannic, needed more aging, and overpowered the delicacy that Pinot Noir is supposed to have. However, as I let the wine sit, the tannins and acids died down on the 2009, and for some reason the 2010 became too overpowered by fruit and a metal aftertaste. Finally, more than an hour later, both wines were just showing their stuff. Smooth finishes, great fruit and minerality, nice aromas and elegant wines overall. Both still have some aging to do, but the acid will do nicely with salmon. Maybe I’ll pour myself two glasses tomorrow.


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