Pairing Wine With Halibut

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Halibut is fish that has lean, dense meat that is finely textured. It is mildly flavored as well which means that it goes well with stronger seasonings and it is often served with lemon juice, pesto and lots of herbs. 

It can be prepared in many different ways and it is consumed all over the world. Whether it is cooked sous vide, grilled or pan seared it will influence the wine style that you should have with it but in general a medium bodied white wine with a bit of a rounder texture will complement the lean meat of the halibut. 

Wine Characteristics To Pair With Halibut 

CharacteristicDetail
SweetnessDry
AcidityMedium to High
TanninsLow to Medium
BodyMedium Bodied White,Light Reds
Tasting NotesWhite Wine Pairing – Citrus, green fruit, stone fruit
Red Wine Pairing – Red fruit, herbs, butter

Sweetness – Dry style of wine is the one you should have with a lean fish such as halibut. 

Acidity – Medium to High acidity complements the freshness of the fish and it cuts through the  meat as well. 

Tannins – Depending on the method of preparation, red wine can be a good pairing with halibut, but we would recommend sticking to low to medium level of tannins. 

Body – Medium bodied white wines are going to be just enough for the fish, as we wouldn’t want to overpower it. As for the reds, stick to lighter red wines. 

Tasting Notes – Predominant citrus fruit with lemon and lime, green fruit and stone fruit are the notes to look for in white wines. For red wines, stick with red fruit flavored wines and with a bit of herbs. Butter aromas from MLF will help in both white and red if the fish was prepared with butter. 

Best Red Wine To Drink With Halibut 

Red wine can sometimes be a little too much for fish as it has a fuller bodied texture than white wines. Tannins in red wine easily overpower fish and they don’t really work well with fish oils either.
But in some cases red wine can make a fine pairing and even complement fish courses, especially when the fish is cooked in certain ways. Sticking to a low tannin, light bodied wine with a good acidity level is a safe bet. 

Nerello Mascalese from Italy 

A pale in color, light bodied wine produced on the slopes of Mount Etna, this wine is a good accompaniment to fish dishes. The wines have a low level of tannins with mostly red fruit aromas, complemented with a good acidity and a bit of smokiness from the volcanic soil.
It will pair well with grilled fish. 

Pinot Noir from Germany 

Having a German Pinot Noir must seem like something that is not done often and there is a reason for that. Spatburgunder, as the Germans call it, is produced in smaller quantities in the north of the country. These wines have a lighter body than their Burgundian counterparts and lower tannins as well, with a soaring acidity. This makes them perfect for fish dishes. 

Gamay from France

Gamay is grown all over the world but the most known ones are produced in Beaujolais in France. The tannin level in these wines is quite low, the flavor profile is concentrated on light red fruit and the acidity is quite refreshing. These wines are often served chilled which can add to the freshness of the wine. 

Best White Wine To Drink With Halibut 

White wines are a natural pairing with lean, white fish such as Halibut. When it comes to pairing white wines with fish, you can have wines that are light in body and you can go for full bodied ones as well, as this is influenced mostly by the cooking method and the sauces that accompany the fish. 

In general, try sticking to wines with a medium to high acidity, citrus and green fruit aromas and maybe hints of oak aging. 

Chardonnay from France

Chardonnay from Chablis is a classic pairing for fish and it is going to be our first and lightest recommendation. Having an entry level Chablis is always going to match well with pan seared halibut that is marinated in lemon juice and served with lemon on the side. The reason for this is the fact that Chablis has a crazy high acidity with a lighter body and loads of citrus and green fruit flavors. It will make your dining experience memorable. 

Soave Classico from Italy

Garganega produced on the hills of Soave region in Veneto, Italy, makes wines that give a lot of flavors and texture. These wines tend to be a tiny bit floral, with citrus, green fruit and stone fruit aromas. They are grown on volcanic soils as well which gives a bit of smokiness and if they are oaked you are in for a treat with butter and cream flavors. 

Verdejo from Spain

Grown mostly in the Denominacion de Origen Rueda in northwest Spain this wine tends to be very similar to Sauvignon Blanc with its herbal, vegetal aromas and citrus fruit. The wines have a good level of acidity and freshness although they are often aged in oak which gives a creamy texture and a smoky nose which works well with fish that is butter poached or has heavy sauces on the side. 

Pairing Wine With Halibut Prepared Different Ways

Wine With Pan Seared Halibut

This dish tends to be a bit lighter in intensity with lots of lemon juice and olive oil, complemented by herbs such as rosemary, parsley and just a touch of butter. The Chablis Chardonnay works well with this kind of dish as the acidity cuts through the fat of the butter and the oil and cleanses your palate. The flavors match with citrus lemon and lime and a bit of smoke coming from the soils of Chablis. 

Wine With Grilled Halibut

With Grilled Halibut feel free to experiment with a light red wine as the grill imparts lots of flavors to the fish itself and it needs a bit more texture and body from the wine.
A light Pinot Noir or the German Spatburgunder will do just fine with grilled halibut. 

Best Wine To Drink With Food Halibut

Having any of these wines will do just great with your main course and will make your dining experience sophisticated and memorable. The acidity, freshness, texture and flavors will make the pairing sublime. 

  • Chardonnay from France
  • Soave Classico from Italy
  • Verdejo from Spain
  • Pinot Noir from Germany 
  • Nerello Mascalese from Italy

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