Two Italian Reds To Pair With Fresh Sockeye Salmon on the Grill

With fresh salmon in season, what should you pair with it?

Whether it is Copper River, sockeye salmon, or King, when in doubt, get the Pinot Noir out!

But maybe you’ve been there and done that too many times and you want to venture beyond the tried and true and do something different.

Which is exactly what we did the other night: we tried two Italian RED wines, Italian wines that aren’t pinot noir (aka pinot nero). In fact, these are Italian wines that you may never have heard of but are interpretations of ones that might be more familiar than at first it seems!


2016 San Lorenzo – Rosso Conero SRP $18
2013 – Doga Delle Clavule – Morellino Di Scansano SRP $18


Note: If it’s warm, everything can be made on the grill except the risotto which we prepared  in the 
instant pot.

Fresh sockeye salmon
Roasted acorn squash with mushroom risotto
Roasted asparagus

2013 – Doga Delle Clavule – Morellino Di Scansano – Denominazione Di Origine Controllata E. Garantita
13% alcohol SRP $19
minimum 85% 

Elisabetta Gnudi-Angelini is the owner of several Tuscan wineries including this one. Morellino di Scansanos are fresh reds, so she suggests serving it slightly chilled and pairing it with seafood including shrimp and crab.

“We love it with grilled fish. The touch of oak and the fruit of the wine give it a soul like a fresh white wine. The tannins of the wine can support more complex dishes with sauces, like my favorite tomato fish soup, very typical in the Maremma region,” Elisabetta said.

We totally fell in love with this bright wine which we served at cellar (not room) temperature. We didn’t know how much it cost when we tasted it and I am so impressed because I would have thought it to be a much more expensive wine.

This Morellino di Scansano offers an excellent price for the quality.

It may sound unfamiliar, but that is merely a local name for Sangiovese that is made in a fresh style, often unoaked, so look for it and consider pairing it with grilled fish like salmon! And following her recommendation, I could also see it going well with ciappino.

Color: Medium density, medium intensity blood red, pale pink rim

Nose: Nice perfume, woodsy, cedar, sandalwood, amber, clove, cigar box, cinnamon stick; super complex. Smells like a million dollars.

Palate: Light and bright. We spent so much more time talking about the mouth feel over the flavor. Smooth and sensual, viscous, perfectly balanced between acidity and minerals. Long finish. Cranberry, rhubarb. The complexity of this wine is brilliant, and the finish hangs out with you like a buddy: cedar and cigar box, clove, forest floor and duff leaving you lastly with clean minerals. It leaves you satisfied, but also invites you back. This is a very seductive wine. While this might not be a great cocktail wine, we enjoyed it so much on its own making it a great wine by the glass.

Pairing: We were over the moon with our first bite of mushroom risotto stuffed acorn squash. It was such a brilliant pairing, we want to do this again. With white wines, go with tarragon but if with red wines, try thyme or sage. It also worked with the shrimp egg rolls and the crab balls, and it is an excellent choice to pair with salmon simply grilled with lemon. The burghs fruit lifts the flavor of the rich salmon and the textural elements are equally complex.

2016 – San Lorenzo – Rosso Conero  – Denominazione di Origne Controllata – Umani Ronchi
13.5% alcohol – SRP $19
100% Montepulciano 

Michele Bernetti, President of Umani Ronchi, and his son Michele, who manages the winery in the Marche region, suggest pairing their San Lorenzo Rosso Conero DOC 2016 with a seafood dish that has rosemary, olive, and caper aromas: Stocafisso all’Anconeta, where “The cod is slowly cooked with ripe tomato, potatoes, anchovies, cappers, rosemary, extra virgin olive oil. It has an intense and rich taste, making it an ideal seafood dish to pair with red wine rather than white wine.”

Color: Deep, dense purple with a garnet ring

Nose: Forest floor and herbs, sage,  mushrooms and earth, blackberries, bramble fruit, fresh blackberries in the sun.

Palate: Blackberry and raspberry, cherry, mint on the finish, and up front on in the gums, minty tannins. Great complexity

Pairing: We did not care for the risotto stuffed acorn squash with this wine. The sweetness of the squash did nothing for this wine. With the roasted asparagus there was an interesting quality. It was amazing, and kept you wanting more, a definite WOW thing. Sue and I both felt that grilled artichoke would also be perfect with this wine. When paired with salmon, the wine has substance but doesn’t overpower the rich salmon.

Both of the wineries suggest seafood dishes prepared with tomatoes but we found the simple preparation of a grilled salmon was a wonderful pairing.


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