Chablis, Vermentino, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Gris are the best wine pairings with Halibut as they will not crush the delicate flavours of the fish. For red wine, lighter reds like Pinot Noir, Beaujolais-Villages or Barbera will pair up with Halibut as well but do not elevate the delicate flavours of Halibut as much as white wine.
Halibut is a flatfish (as are Sole and Flounder) and is often sold in the form of steaks due to the thickness of the fish. Atlantic Halibut is the most popular species due to its firm texture and mild but sweet flavours. Halibut steaks are often pan-fried, poached or braised, or the meat can be used for soups and stews. Low in fat, Halibut should never be grilled as it will stick to the grill and tear.
Pacific Halibut is often sold as fillets and has slightly less flavour than Atlantic Halibut, but it remains delicious.
An unoaked Chardonnay, like a Chablis, lacks the toasty and buttery flavours that an Oaked Chardonnay. Instead, you’ll find crisp notes of green apple, lemon, mineral, flint and chalk, which makes Chablis an excellent wine pairing with Halibut.
Halibut is not a fishy-tasting fish. The flavours of Halibut are slightly sweet and mild. The lean green apple and lemon notes highlight the delicate flavours of the fish, allowing you to enjoy the gentle flavours. Meanwhile, the chalk and mineral flavours of Chablis complement the sea-breeze flavours of the ocean-caught fish. Furthermore, Halibut is like a sponge and soaks up all the new flavours introduced to it, meaning the fish will bring out the best of the Chablis.
Vermentino & Halibut Pairing with Pesto
A classic Italian Vermentino is a light-bodied white wine with notes of flowers, lemon, mineral, nuts and herbs. The nutty and herbal flavours make Vermentino an exceptional wine pairing with Halibut in a pesto sauce. The mild flavours of Halibut make it the perfect backdrop for the bolder flavours of pesto, making this fish a good substitute where recipes that call for chicken or tofu.
Meanwhile, the lemon, green apple, lime, and tropical fruit flavours of Vermentino sharpens the delicate flavours of the Halibut, allowing you to fully appreciate the fish’s gentle flavours.
Pouilly-Fumé and Halibut Pairing
Pouilly-Fumé is a dry Sauvignon Blanc from France that features grassy and herbal notes along with lime, green apple, grapefruit, and smoky flint. While any Sauvignon Blanc will pair with Halibut just fine, Pouilly-Fumé has the perfect blend of green fruit, grass and gunflint to add more character to the fish without stealing anything away from its mild flavours.
Halibut is an expensive fish, and pairing it with a notable white white such as Pouilly-Fumé makes for a memorable dining experience. The wine pairing will improve even further if you have a side of roasted asparagus, potatoes with chives, or cooked greens due to Pouilly-Fumé grassy and herbal notes.
Pinot Gris & Poached Halibut Pairing
Pinot Gris is an excellent wine pairing with Halibut as this white wine serves up flavours of peach, lemon zest and apple. These lively flavours bring a little pizzazz to poached Halibut as they introduce some zesty flavours without masking up any of the Halibut’s flavours. You’ll also find notes of honey, nuts and stone in this rich and creamy white wine.
Many people fall off the healthy eating train as the foods they are eating are incredibly boring and dull. By introducing a dry glass of Pinot Gris, you’ll look forward to the nights you plan on dining on poached Halibut.
Beaujolais-Villages & Halibut Stew Pairing
Halibut will go well with lighter red wines, however, the combination of red fruit and mild fish is not a winner for me. For others, they may love this combination, and in this instance Beaujolais will make an excellent wine pairing with Halibut steak. An Oregon Pinot Noir will be an even better pairing with Halibut Steak, however, it will also be pricier.
My preference with Beaujolais-Villages and Halibut would be in a tomato-based stew. The cherry, strawberry and raspberry flavours complement the sweetness and acidity found in the tomatoes. Meanwhile, Beaujolais-Villages also has earthy, spicy and herbal notes that blend well with a rich seafood stew.