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Riesling and salmon skewers over brown rice

By: Jeff James
July 20, 2018
The Perfect Pairing

Riesling is an aromatic and delicious white wine that originated in the Rhine region of Germany and which provides for a nice pairing with this month’s salmon recipe. Riesling can be produced “dry” with little or no residual sugar, “off-dry” with a small amount of residual sugar to provide body and sweetness and “sweet” with a bit more sugar and which can be enjoyed as a lovely dessert wine. This range of styles makes Riesling one of the most versatile wines available.

While Riesling grapes were originally grown around the Rhine River, the wines made from this flavorful grape have been so prized that fine examples are now being produced in many other parts of the world, including Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Upstate New York and California. Some wonderful versions are produced locally in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. Due to our ideal climate, you can look for exceptional balance in the Rieslings that are grown in our part of the world.

The pineapple, tomatoes and paprika in this recipe offer some interesting layers to the flavors and fattiness of the salmon. My suggestion would be to match a dry Riesling with this recipe as it is presented. The acidity, which is a fundamental component of a dry Riesling, will be a nice complement to the richness of the fish and an excellent contrast to the sweetness from the heated pineapple and tomatoes. It will actually brighten up the brown rice portion of the dish as well. Look for the stone fruit, apple, pear and citrus notes in the wine to interact very pleasantly with the slightly caramelized pineapple. You could lean towards an off-dry Riesling if you opt for being heavy handed with the paprika or add any additional piquant spices, as the slight sweetness of the wine will provide a little relief from the spiciness in the food while the fruit, aromatics and minerality will add layers of complexity.

So select a nice bottle of Riesling, cook up this quick and easy and nutritious meal and raise a toast to eating, drinking and living very well in Wine Country. Cheers!


Jeff James is the founder and co-owner, with his wife Judy, of Stony Point Vineyard and James Family Cellars. Their Cotati vineyard and winery have consistently produced award-winning wines. Jeff can be reached at or