what white wine to cook a salmon filet
December 1, 2004 3:34 PM   Subscribe

What type of white wine should I use for a recipe for salmon filet pouched in white wine, lemon juice and capers? Please recommend brands, what kind of taste it has, i.e., fruity, woodsy, etc., and price.
posted by =^. .^= to Food & Drink (20 answers total)
I would say not very expensive, but not Gallo either. You will be cooking the wine, and adding lemon and capers, so anything very exquisite is a waste. But using rotgut to cook with is also a mistake.
Personally, I would choose something very dry, but that's how I like my white wine in general.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:38 PM on December 1, 2004

A dry Riesling is ideal, in my opinion. There are lots of decent dry California Rieslings for less than $10.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:40 PM on December 1, 2004

I can't recommend a brand off the top of my head, as I rarely drink white wine. I can say, though, that you're looking for something with a medium acidity--enough to stand up to the lemon juice without making the whole dish too acidic. Look for citrus flavours, and fairly dry. And always remember the cardinal rule of cooking with wine: Never cook with a wine you wouldn't serve at your table.

Basically, go to your local (decent!) wine store. Tell them your budget and what you're cooking. They'll generally be able to help.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:40 PM on December 1, 2004

Because salmon has a kind of distinct, powerful taste, I'd recommend a (dry) Sancerre to cook & drink with the fish. A decent Sancerre usually goes for $15-$35, and has a sort of biting aftertaste that reminds me of bleu cheese. I think it would complement the fish and capers nicely without fading into the background. If there's no Sancerres at your local store, a Vouvray would also work.
posted by sophie at 4:14 PM on December 1, 2004

I know this isn't particularly specific, but be certain that whatever wine you choose isn't overly oaked. Most American chardonnays seem to be these days, and it's very unpleasant to cook with one that is. If you have access to a knowledgeable sales person, don't hesitate to ask them to steer you away from oaky wines!
posted by mollweide at 4:22 PM on December 1, 2004

Thought by some to be too common, but my choice for a white would be Mouton Cadet Bordeaux Blanc. If you pay over $10 per bottle, you're being overcharged.

"The wine has a fine, light straw color with pale gold highlights and a refined, fresh nose on which distinctive floral combine with highly elegant notes of Sauvignon and a hint of toast. Sauvignon brings refinement and texture, while Semillon and Muscadelle give substance and the impression of roundness in the mouth. The long finish, expressive and harmonious on ripe fruit with a slightly mineral tinge, is entirely typical of the appellation."
posted by SteveInMaine at 4:32 PM on December 1, 2004

For a court-boullion I also use Mouton-Cadet Bordeaux. Drink a lot of it, too.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:05 PM on December 1, 2004

Buy the cheapest wine you would drink. The details won't matter.
posted by Nelson at 5:46 PM on December 1, 2004

I've never gone wrong with any $7-10 Bordeaux for cooking, maybe I've been lucky, but it always seems to work out well.
posted by spaghetti at 8:59 PM on December 1, 2004

Oregon Pinot Gris is very light, and has an astoundingly full-bodied fruity yet crisp taste. If you can find a bottle of 2003 Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris, I believe that would work well. (Correct me if I'm wrong, I'm not that experienced at pairing wines with foods, but it's got a great fruitiness and a slight citrus that should complement the lemon, and what I thought was a pretty nice finish, but I couldn't identify it ... too busy going 'yum!')
posted by SpecialK at 9:35 PM on December 1, 2004

German whites are known for the clarity of their flavors/bouquets...I'm thinking that'll compliment a simple salmon dish with other distinct flavors like lemon and capers. So, Riesling should be good.
posted by paul_smatatoes at 12:50 AM on December 2, 2004

Bonny Doon Riesling. It's very, very dry for a Riesling, and around $10.
posted by mkultra at 5:08 AM on December 2, 2004

for this particular recipe - with lemon and capers is riesling appropriate? you don't find riesling much here, but what i've had back in the uk i remember as quite a flowery wine - lots of delicate flavour, very nice to drink, but perhaps not the kind of taste to go with capers, which can be quite strong? for the same reason i'm not sure chardonay is all that good (melon-like fruit), though i don't think anyone has suggested that. i'd suggest a sauvignon (or blend with semillon, which might be labelled sauvignon anyway) - it's got less of the delicate flowery/fruity flavours but more of the "kick" you might want in a recipe like this.

however, when i've mentioned sauvignon blanc here in the past people have objected to its "grassy" flavour...
posted by andrew cooke at 6:00 AM on December 2, 2004

i should add i don't worry much about cooking with wine - i just drink it - so it may be that things change when used in cooking. the question just got me thinking.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:03 AM on December 2, 2004

Response by poster: Thank you all for your suggestions. This wine neophyte will now have a less glazed expression when confronted by rows of bottles filled with the fruit of the vine.
posted by =^. .^= at 8:54 AM on December 2, 2004

andrew cooke, I was going to suggest sauvignon blanc too, precisely because of its grassy flavour, which I think would go well with the other flavours suggested. Salmon is fatty and smooth, you want something a little... astringent to cut through and contrast.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:20 PM on December 2, 2004

California dry Riesling is quite different from German Riesling--it's about as dry as a good Alto Adige grigio, but with a heavier mouthfeel.

It actually is really, really good with lemon and with salty garnishes like capers or olives. California sauvignon blanc at the lower price points is much fruitier than say, the Australian variety, and wouldn't be particularly good for cooking salmon--though it is wonderful with monkfish.

California white wines tend to taste very different than the wines produced elsewhere with the same varietals, partly because of the terroir, and partly because the winemakers like to play with the styles. The dry Rieslings are really a style of their own, and wonderful for cooking.

California sauvignon blancs, except the very best of them, are formulated for the people who used to drink "Chablis" (i.e., off-dry California white table wine), or who only recently made the switch from white Zinfandel. I wouldn't cook salmon with a California sauvignon blanc that cost less than $18, and I never cook with wines that expensive except on very special occasions.

The reason I suggested that the OP stick to California wines is that her profile suggests she is in California, where the local product is well-priced and imports are expensive.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:48 PM on December 2, 2004

ok (i was thinking of a new zealand or asutralian dry riesling when i made my comments, but have almost no experience of californian wine).
posted by andrew cooke at 1:17 PM on December 2, 2004

Wow. Sidhedevil, you should work up a wine FPP. I've never had the chance to drink Californian wine in a thoughtful way - I have dim memories of knocking back some cheap chardonnay in a brief trip to San Francisco and being rather disappointed (not that I knew enough about anything wine-related to have an opinion then). New Zealand sauvignon blancs tend to be grassy or flinty, even more so than Australian ones.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:28 PM on December 2, 2004

Response by poster: Wow. Sidhedevil, you should work up a wine FPP.

I second that.

(Bowing respectfully to the wine connoisseur)
posted by =^. .^= at 4:08 PM on December 2, 2004

« Older Anybody have any tips for managing oriental hair?   |   Can I sync my Palm Zire memos to my iBook? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.