I like some of your points. I agree that people can have too much of a knee-jerk reaction to pairings, either due to opinion about a grape or due to classic food pairing combinations. And I'm sure that you found many wines that paired very well (many of your pairings -- Beaujolais, old, lighter style Tempranillo, Valpolicella -- all make intuitive sense to me). But I think, as a chef, you approached this question of pairing differently than I would.
Baujolais, Valpolicella, inexpensive Barbera, can all be good, and I drink all of them on a somewhat regular basis (esp the Barbera). And the wine you mention as the winner sounds really interesting, and I'd love to try it. But, I think part of this is a question of which wines, when at their best, pair well with salmon -- which is a very different question than "what makes the salmon taste good?" I think you hit the nail on the head when you discuss the need for the Valpolicella not to be a Ripassa or Amarone or when you mention that the less-well-regarded Barberas actually paired better with the smoked salmon than the more intense, barrique-aged Barberas. I bet the Nero d'Avola you tried wasn't Don Antonio or Rosso del Conte. My point is that, while there are exceptions in your list, most of the wines you mention as good pairings are decidedly NOT great wines. They have a cap as to how good they can be. (eg. The better the Barbera, the worse the pairing.) I think the reason so many people support Pinot here is that it is just about the only red grape that could produce a 95+ point wine and STILL be a good pairing for smoked salmon. And, especially when the original question includes the phrase "Price is not a concern," that is a component of many people's reccomendation.
I hope this doesn't come off as snobbish. I understand where you are coming from and largely agree with your central thesis. I also, however, happen to love Pinot