Bold and creamy white wines like Chardonnay and Viognier complement the fattiness of a cedar-planked salmon.  For red wines, a light and fruity Pinot Noir has the perfect structure to jive with the smoky salmon flavours.  A crisp and fruity Rosé or a creamy sparkling wine round up our top five picks for this summer BBQ favourite.

Chardonnay & Cedar Planked Salmon Pairing


A toasty and buttery Chardonnay wraps itself around the fatty and smoky flavours of a cedar-planked salmon, complementing every bite.  Meanwhile, the signature tropical fruit and crisp granny apple flavours have no issue cutting through the healthy fats of the Salmon, keeping your palate clean.  This ensures your taste buds do not get weighed down by the rich flavours of the Salmon.

Pinot Noir & Cedar Planked Salmon


Pairing fish with a red wine might seem mismatched, but remember, Salmon is rich in flavour and fat, so it will hold up lighter reds, like a Pinot Noir.  I would recommend a young Oregon Pinot Noir, which is known for its bright acidity and strawberry/cherry flavours.  The acidity ensures the wine will cut through the oily richness of cedar-planked Salmon.

With Oregon Pinot Noir, you’ll also find subtle earthy and smoky notes that complement the smokiness brought on by the cedar planking.  If an Oregon Pinot Noir is out of your reach, a slightly oaked Pinot Noir from British Columbia or California adds an oaky vanilla spice that harmonizes nicely with the cedar flavours.

Pinot Noir from other regions will work fine with Salmon just as well.  Burgundy, which is a Pinot Noir from France, tends to have a barnyard funkiness that wine enthusiasts love, but might not be a crowd-pleaser if you are hosting a backyard BBQ.

Viognier & Cedar Planked Salmon Pairing


Viognier is a rich and oily wine that is often aged in oak to deliver even more creaminess that will match the weight of a cedar-planked Salmon.  Heavier Viognier, which is packed with flavours of peaches, mangos, nutmeg and clove, will complement and contrast the cedar/salmon flavours while maintaining its identity with each delicious sip.

Rosé & Cedar Planked Salmon Pairing


A dry but fruity Rosé makes for a fabulous summer sipper that is perfect for any backyard BBQ.  Due to its pink colour, Rosé is often dismissed as being cloyingly sweet, but in most instances, it’s dry and tart.  Notes of strawberry and cranberry mingle with citrus flavours of lemon and lime.  These fruity notes rise to the top as you chew on your Salmon, and ensure your palate is cleansed with each swallow.  This ensures each bite tastes as fresh as the first, as the wine keeps the oily salmon flavours from clogging up your tongue.

Since Cedar Planked Salmon is often the highlight of a backyard bbq, Rosé makes for the perfect wine to offer at a large gathering.  In these instances, a wide variety of dishes will be served, and due to the food-friendliness of Rosé, you’re guaranteed to have a wine that will go with nearly everything else such as summer salads, deviled eggs, baked potatoes, and chicken shish-a-bobs.

Sparkling Wine & Cedar Planked Salmon Pairing


A crisp by creamy sparkling white wine with lemony notes proves that big, fat white wines like Chardonnay aren’t the only white wines that dance with cedar-planked Salmon.  Sparkling wine that is higher in alcohol has a creamy thickness or viscosity that complements the fattiness of the cedar-planked Salmon.  This creamy mouthfeel of the wine allows the sparkling wine to hold up to the Salmon and allows the lemon-like flavours to sneak in and keep your palate cleansed.

You could go with a Champagne, however, there are many budget friendly sparkling wines that will offer a fantastic culinary experience.  For that creamy mouth-feel, look for a sparkling wine that is 13% alcohol or higher.
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