Basics: Upgrade Your Breakfast Table by Pairing Wine with Lox | Wine Enthusiast
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Upgrade Your Breakfast Table by Pairing Wine with Lox

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Whether on a bagel with cream cheese, blended into a creamy spread of its own, served with scrambled eggs, tossed into a salad or just piled on a snack platter in generous ribbons, lox always brings intense flavor to the table.

Traditional lox is salmon belly that’s been salt-cured, but not smoked, while Nova smoked salmon (sometimes called “Nova lox”) is salmon that’s cold-smoked after it’s cured.

Gravlax, meanwhile, is a cured, unsmoked, Scandinavian variant seasoned with dill.

Whatever style you prefer—and all are essentially interchangeable—there are several directions to choose from when it comes to wine.


The bright citrus and saline notes of Albariño are always good with seafood, and they’re an especially refreshing match for the deep briny character of lox. Pro tip: Sip it with lox and honeydew, which will bring out the wine’s subtle melon notes.


Play up the fresh dill flavors in gravlax with Chardonnay aged in American oak. The variety of wood lends hints of dill that aren’t present in French oak, while the wine has the body to stand up to this most flavorful cured-salmon style.


In terms of mouthfeel, the curing process leaches liquid from the fish, which concentrates its natural oils and lends a silky, almost buttery texture. Pinot Noir has similar sensations, and its tannins help cut through the fat.


Reach for a Pouilly-Fumé, which is a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley. Its gun-flint aroma will marry well with the salmon’s smoky note, while it also has crisp acidity to combat the richness of lox.

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