Salmon can be a tricky fish to pair with wine – not because it’s a fish but because of the fatty oils it has. These oils (Omega 3 and 6’s primarily) can interact poorly with tannins found in wine causing a metallic taste to result in your mouth. Red wines have tannins, white wines don’t. Hence where the often mis-represented idea of “no red wine and fish” comes into play.
However, you can indeed have red wine and fish. The key is to have a low tannin wine with fish – especially fatty ones like salmon or mackerel.
Tannins are found in skins and seeds of grapes, as well as in wood (oak). Pinot Noir, Gamay (from Beaujolais), and Barbera, are all thinner skinned grapes that are excellent wines to pair with salmon due to the lower tannin content. Frappato or wines from Sicily are also great low-tannin wines. However, they can be a bit harder to find in your local store. The key is find these wines that have been aged in used oak or some other inert vessel, not new oak (new oak will impart tannin).
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