Four Whites with Asian Baked Salmon

One of my favourite recipes that I find myself cooking at least once is month is Asian Baked Salmon by Rowan Bishop, food columnist in Urban and Country - a monthly lifestyle magazine inserted into Waikato newspapers that I also write a wine column for.

In my variation of the recipe salmon is marinated with ginger, soy sauce, lime juice, lime zest, kaffir lime leaves (from my tree), fennel (from my bush) and all sorts of yummies then is baked in the oven for just 8 minutes. It’s just enough time to cook the salmon just enough so it flakes apart perfectly and retains that pearly salmon glow.
Salmon in marinade

I love this dish and I love it even more with pinot gris – a no-brainer match, but how would it go with other varietals? This was an opportunity to try…

I opened a riesling, a chardonnay, a viognier and of course a pinot gris. Three out of four got big ticks. They were:

Domain Road Riesling 14Domain Road The Water Race Dry Riesling 2014
Citrine gold — lustrous in appearance.
The bouquet is lime pith and honeysuckle — very delicate and distinctly varietal. Honeysuckle, lime and mandarin shimmer all the way through the palate with a light viscous touch.
Lifted, fresh and clean; more ‘off dry’ than dry I would say as the balance of sweetness to acidity is excellent and the zestiness on the finish is bright and refreshing with a slight apple skin earthiness providing a quivering undercurrent throughout.
12.5% abv. RRP $25.

Salmon match: Yes. Very good with the kaffir lime and ginger marinade. The earthiness of the salmon works well too. Tasting again after dinner, the wine’s bracing acidity more noticeable — but this is not a wine to drink after dinner.

Sacred Hill Marlborough Pinot Gris 2015
Light citrine — glossy in the winter evening incandescent light.
Great nose – all honey poached quince with a delicate sprinkling of spice then apple and ginger and again honey — the bouquet offers up heaps.
A full-bodied style of pinot gris (no doubt the 14% alcohol by volume attributes to this) with soft acidity, a touch of flower musk, hints of vanilla and honey in the background. Fruit is vanilla poached pears and white melon and the zing of spice adds brightness to the finish where I detect a delightful touch of anise / fennel seed. Quite heady and must be good cos I’ve written lots. But is it a heavy wine and does need food.
14% abv. RRP $20.

Salmon match: As expected, amazing. There’s something about the oiliness of the salmon and the softness (low acidity) of the pinot gris that makes this combo work so well together. I said above it needs food. Tasted again after dinner and it needs food. For too strong on its own – too strong to sip on after dinner. Pour as an aperitif with salmon nibbles or as a main course accompaniment to this amazing dish.

Mills Reef Chardonnay 2015Mills Reef Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015
Lemon yellow glints infuse the light gold hue.
The bouquet radiates yellow stonefruit with a light malo influence that sits in nicely.
Quite zesty on first tasting, the acidity is moderate not high — it’s somewhere between the Riesling (high) and the Pinot Gris (low) tasted alongside. Brimming with flavours of stone fruit, melon and tropical fruit — like a peach / pineapple / mango fruit salad — the slightest suggestion of pineapple a highlight. A bright fresh fruity style with little influence of oak and a long juicy finish. I like this as it is a terrific mainstream socialising style — not too heavy, not too light – and the stonefruit flavours are juicy and delicious on the finish.
12.5% abv. RRP $20.

Salmon match: Harmonious with the salmon and all the components of the marinade.

The fourth wine was Wairau River Reserve Marlborough Viognier 2015 – this really didn’t work with the Asian Baked Salmon but, as mentioned when reviewed on my previous blog posting, it’s a headilicious wine and terrific with chicken and apricot. Click here for that review.

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