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Nov 16, 2009 10:32 AM

Wine with maple-rum glazed salmon

I've lurked on Chow for a while and finally decided to sign up.

My first question is what wine would work best with the following menu (I'm an absolute novice at wine pairings).

Maple-rum glazed salmon (the sauce is maple syrup, rum, & dijon mustard)
Roasted asparagus (with a little parmesan and lemon)
Twice-baked potatoes.
Romaine salad with pears, blue cheese, and walnuts

I was sort of thinking a Zinfandel or Riesling, but the rum really throws me a curve.

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  1. Welcome to the Wine board, priscilla.

    A substantial New World Pinot Noir -- sweet fruit to handle the syrup/sugar, substance to balance the strong flavours, acid to cut the richness. Personally, I'd avoid the oakier, more Syrah-like styles. If you could find a fruity, non-gallumphing Zin, that'd probably work too. If white's your thing and you can source one, a full-throttle Jura Chardonnay, Savagnin or Chard-Sav blend done in the traditional, slightly nutty/oxidized style could make an interesting match.

    Last Saturday's Montreal Gazette had a useful report on a taste-off featuring salmon in various preparations and paired with a wide range of red and white wines. Here's the link:

    9 Replies
    1. re: carswell

      Second New World Pinot, avoiding the Syrah-type Pinot.

      1. re: maria lorraine

        Pixelle does have a point about the blue cheese, though. Not a good match for Pinot Noir, New World or otherwise. I'd assumed the salad would be served as a separate course, in which case I'd serve it without wine.

        1. re: carswell

          Thanks for all your suggestions. It wasn't at all clear, but I did decide to serve the salad separately.

            1. re: maria lorraine

              I should've said "I have decided." The dinner is happening on Friday.

        2. re: maria lorraine

          Actually, with somewhat similar (detailed below), we have successfully paired with several Syrahs, including the Robert Biale Hill Climbers.

          What Syrah element do you and Carswell find objectionable, or are the differences in this prep enough to sway you?

          Just curious on the take of two very respected posters.


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            I'm sacked out on the sofa, a little sick this evening, so let's see if my muddled mind can make any sense. My problem with Pinot-as-Syrah is that the Pinot grape loses its suppleness and sexiness when it's allowed to (over)ripen to the point of being Syrah-ish. The weight of the wine changes, the flavor of the fruit changes, and the loss of real Pinot-ness is disappointing. In contrast, many fleshy, concentrated New World Pinots still retain the raspberry, plum, and mid-range flavors that are characteristic of the varietal.

            The flavors of a New World Syrah strike me as being a bit too intense and overwhelming for the dishes in the original post. But both Pinot and Syrah are found along a wide spectrum of intensity and ripeness, so a lighter-weight Syrah with red fruit flavors might work fine.

            1. re: maria lorraine

              This is a thank you - a shout-out, if you will, to both you and to Carswell.

              Thanks for the input on this.

              I'll digest your comments.

              BTW - get well!


            2. re: Bill Hunt

              As usual, maria lorraine has summed it up nicely.

              While I admit my experience of the Loring-style PNs is limited -- they're rare birds up here and I don't seek them out -- I'm just not fond of the ones I have tried, especially as accompaniments to anything but grilled red meat. Plus, with a heavy, fatty fish like salmon, my first requirement for a wine is that it be refreshing, which the I-can't-believe-it's-not-Syrah PNs seldom are. Having mistaken an aged Côte-Rôtie served double-blind for a red Burgundy on more than one occasion, I wouldn't eliminate all Syrahs from consideration as a pairing with salmon, but if going that route I'd incline toward a lighter, fruitier, higher acid wine like a Graillot Crozes-Hermitage.

              Hope you're feeling better, maria lorraine.

        3. The tastes and the ingredients you have put together are pretty strong and different - I'd go for a white wine, a Poully Fume definitively, which is a acid and slightly smoked tasted white wine which can perfectly balance the sweetness of the sauce and the the strenghts of blue cheese as well.


          1. My wife does similar, sans the rum. Instead of dijon, she does a chili rub.

            For those dishes, we usually do a bigger, fruit-driven CA PN, or a Syrah. Each pairs well. Now, remember that we do not do the rum, and there is probably a bit more "heat" with the chilis, than with the dijon.

            Similar, but not the same...


            1. First thought was New World Pinot. Easily my top choice with that menu.