Did you find yourself a nice fillet of Alaskan halibut and are wondering which bottle to chill to go alongside? This lean, flaky fish has a medium body and relatively delicate flavor. Perfect halibut wine pairings require an aromatic or medium-bodied wine that will match the texture and bring a bouquet of aromas and notes onto your palate.
5 Delicious Halibut Wine Pairings
With its mildly sweet flavor, yet firm texture, halibut can stand up to some heartier whites. An aromatic white with bright acidity will make the most lively pairing. Look to the following expressive wines to make some killer matches.
Vermentino and Grilled Halibut
Vermentino is a summer stunner that is often overlooked. Much of the vermentino you'll find is from the island of Sardinia in Italy. It's a showy little number with notes of pink grapefruit, lime, white peach, almond, and a salty minerality that makes you feel like you are sipping it seaside. Between the salty aromas and zippy acidity, vermentino also can have a slightly more structured body with a bit of an oily palate. It pairs great with a grilled piece of halibut topped with lemon juice, zest, and a pile of fresh herbs.
Chablis With Halibut in Butter Sauce
This clean chardonnay from France is distinct with bright citrus, pear, and aromas of white blossoms. With racy acidity and minerality, it lingers on the palate yet is delicate enough to not overwhelm the halibut. Chablis is a great match for a slightly richer preparation of halibut, like pan-seared in a lemon butter sauce or poached in a spring chowder topped with pea shoots.
Pinot Noir Rosé and Halibut Tacos
A good pinot noir rosé is delicate, crisp, and full of showy strawberry, raspberry, and rose notes. Lean into a rosé with a bit more skin-contact, resulting in a deeper salmon color, slightly grippy tannins and medium structure. The body will match that of the halibut, and the acidity and flavor will punch through to make the pairing pleasantly compelling.
Ribolla Gialla for Halibut With Fruit Salsa
An aromatic grape from the rolling hills of northern Italy where vineyards meet the border of Slovenia, ribolla gialla is harder to find but well worth hunting down. It's brilliantly aromatic with fruit and floral notes of tangerine, peach, citrus, thyme, and apple. The grape is commonly aged on its skins in amphorae or oak, where it develops a rich golden hue, structure, and notes of beeswax and toasted almond. If going for an orange wine-style ribolla gialla, stick to lighter wines that won't be too grippy for the semi-delicate halibut yet still offer a robust texture and minerality.
Sauvignon Blanc With Saucy or Creamy Halibut Dishes
A classically aromatic grape, no matter what part of the world it's from, sauvignon blanc is a no brainer with a fillet of halibut. The light body, dramatic aromatics, and bright acidity make it a great match for saucy or creamy halibut dishes. Think baked halibut in garlic cream sauce with fennel or serve a glass alongside a halibut-forward bouillabaisse.
Pair Aromatic Wines With Halibut
Whether grilled, poached, baked, or seared, a flaky piece of mild halibut paired with an aromatic and crisp white, rosé, or orange wine is a winning combination.