I'm finding salmon to be a really great fish for wine and food pairings. There are so many different ways to prepare salmon, and a wide range of wines to pair with. One of my favorite grapes is Pinot Noir, and Pinot just happens to go hand in hand with salmon.
This dish makes good use of the Balsamic vinegar to cover up any fishy taste. Norwegian salmon is nice and fatty, and has a flavor perfect for this dish. When you grill the salmon, the grilled flavor really gives the salmon a nice glaze.
Check out the 1996 Domaine Leroy Bourgogne from Burgundy. Burgundy Pinot Noirs take longer to come together in the bottle so you have to be patient. When you get a good one, it's magic in a bottle. Burgundy has 4 levels designated on their labels:
Bourgogne - when you see that on the label, it means the grapes were sourced from anywhere in Burgundy. Pretty broad area.
Villages - Burgundy is broken up into villages, such as Cote de Nuits. This zooms into a smaller area within Burgundy. Grapes from that village are in a Villages bottle, pronounced (vilaj).
1er Cru - Also known as Premiere Cru. This zooms in even more to a specific vineyard that's within a village, which is within Burgundy. Pinot really starts to express terroir when you get into a specific vineyard. Quality and collectility goes up.
Grand Cru - When you get a wine from a Grand Cru vineyard, you have something special. This is the ultimate expression of terroir and winemaking. Some Grand Cru wines from Burgundy fetch upwards of $2,000 a bottle because the quality is the highest, but supply is the lowest.
Leroy is one of the top producers in Burgundy, so although her Bourgogne is the lowest of the four levels, hers is still spectacular. The 1996 is very youthful, velvety and complex. Aromas out of the glass are like a tractor beam bringing the glass to your lips—you're powerless to stop it.
recipe from Chef Ron Barber
4 salmon steaks – about 6 ounces each, 1 inch thick
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup Cabernet Franc
1 TBSP fresh lime juice
1 TSP sugar
Combine the balsamic vinegar, wine, lime juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and reduce the mixture by half – allow to cool. Add the salmon steaks to the marinade and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. Remove the salmon from the marinade and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper and grill over high heat for about 4 minutes per side. Serve with grilled vegetables and steamed rice.