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Summer Wine Pairing – Salmon With Coconut-Saffron Sauce & Viognier 

Close up of a glass of white Viognier wine with flowers out of focus in the background.

Summers in the Okanagan Valley are known for being idyllic. They provide an endless array of summer activities, gorgeous weather, incredible wines and a bounty of summer fruits. Many of the delicious orchard fruits of the region are echoed in the flavour profiles of wines that are released here every year. This creates endless possibilities for complimentary wine pairings with locally sourced ingredients.

Heaven’s Gate Winery’s 2019 Voigner (vee-oh-nyay) is a beautiful full-bodied white wine. It entertains the palate with ripe Okanagan peach flavours and leaves a buttery finish. Enjoy it on your patio on a hot summer evening, or anytime at your leisure. While Viognier can accompany a variety of meals, we’ve curated a food and wine pairing that is light, yet satiating — perfect for an Okanagan summer dinner.

Our Feature Wine

A bottle of Heaven's Gate Winery's 2019 Viognier on a white background.
Heaven’s Gate Winery’s 2019 Viognier is a wonderful wine to sip in the summer.

A Global Varietal 

Originating in Rhône, Southern France, Viognier became popular in the 1780’s. Despite the varietal being difficult to grow and low-yielding, it has become popular in wine regions all over the world. Today you can find it in France, North and South America, South Africa, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and of course, the Okanagan. 

Resistant to drought, this grape shows its truest potential when grown in dry climates where it will present a sweeter profile. If exposed to cooler temperatures, it produces a drier wine. This makes timely harvesting of Viognier grapes crucial.

Flavour Notes

Viognier is known for producing aromatic wines that are creamy, full of brightness and fruity with soft floral tones. Expect flavour notes of peach, apricot, mango, tangerine, warm vanilla and honeysuckle. 

In the Okanagan you can often find it blended with other white wines such as Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Semillon and Pinot Blanc. 

Perfect Pairings for Viognier

This fragrant, full-bodied white compliments bold flavours such as seafoods and fish, moderately spicy dishes, and pungent cheeses. Try spicy curries with chicken or shrimp, Pad Thai, some Mexican foods, traditional turkey dinners, orange sauces, cream causes, dishes like apricot chicken, or summer salads with mango or peach.

When in doubt, the following foods will pair well with your bottle of Viognier:


Viognier’s are one of the few white wines that pair well with meat. When it comes to seafood and fish, opt for heavier dishes or dishes with cream sauces.

  • Roasted poultry
  • Seafoods – shrimp, lobster, crab
  • Salmon and white fish
  • Veal
  • Pork
  • Pancetta
  • Jerky


Viognier pairs well with creamy and buttery cheeses.

Two fresh cuts of salmon on wax paper on a wooden cutting board.
Rich oily fish like Salmon pairs perfectly with a full-bodied white wine like our 2019 Viognier.
  • Blue cheese
  • Gorgonzola
  • Gruyeré
  • Camembert
  • Farmer’s Cheese,
  • Comté
  • Fondue


  • Leeks
  • Fennel
  • Green Olives
  • Capers 
  • Squashes 
  • Cranberries                                      
  • Bell Peppers
  • Jalapenos


  • Peaches
  • Passion fruit
  • Apricots
  • Orange
  • Mango

Spices and Herbs

A bunch of green Viognier grapes hanging on a vine.
In the late 1960s, there were only 14 hectares of Viognier grapes in the world and the varietal was considered near the point of extinction.

Here bold flavours are your best bet.

  • Citrus zests 
  • Tarragon
  • Dill
  • Sage
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Coriander
  • Lemongrass
  • Chives 
  • Nutmeg
  • Allspice
  • Saffron
  • Turmeric 
  • Fennel Seeds

Our Featured Summer Wine and Food Pairing

Salmon With Coconut-Saffron Sauce

Salmon is a great summer dinner option and it pairs beautifully with Viognier. With the addition of a creamy saffron sauce, this Salmon with Coconut-Saffron Sauce is an elegant dinner pairing that you can have on the table in under 30 minutes. 

The recipe instructions are fairly simple and you will only need the following ingredients:

A small mound of dried saffron in a wooden spoon.
Very subtle, fragrant and slightly sweet, Saffron’s flavour is difficult to describe, yet easily recognized.
  • salmon fillets
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • ground cumin
  • butter
  • onion
  • garlic 
  • chicken or vegetable bouillon
  • coconut milk
  • heavy cream
  • Saffron

As for sides, choose a vegetable of your choice and include these Oven Roasted Baby Potatoes to round out your meal. If it’s too hot to use the oven, the potatoes and salmon will still pair beautifully if cooked on the barbecue provided they are not charred.

About Heaven’s Gate Winery

Set amongst the magnificent scenery of Summerland, BC, Heaven’s Gate Winery is a producer of award-winning wines. Owner and winemaker Tyson Felt spends his days making handcrafted, small-batch wines from 100% VQA grapes and offering tastings in the on-site log cabin tasting room. 

Stop in for a visit and try our premium one-of-a-kind wines, and take home a bottle of your favourite one. Then relax on our patio and experience the spectacular Okanagan vineyard views at Heaven’s Gate Winery.