Halibut is a medium and flaky fish. By medium we mean it’s texture is a little thicker and firmer than a flaky fish than sole, haddock or flounder. But it’s not rich and oily like salmon, swordfish, or tuna.
For white wine pairings, we’d recommend wines that match the mild flavours and body of Halibut. Lightly oaked, or unoaked Chardonnay, Vermentino, Pouilly Fume, Pinot Gris, and Wheat Beers are all fantastic choices as they will not crush the delicate flavours of the fish. Meanwhile, these wines have their strengths which elevate their pairings in unique ways.
Unoaked Chardonnay and Halibut
An unoaked Chardonnay, like a Chablis, won’t have those toasty, buttery, or vanilla flavours that an Oaked Chardonnay will have. Instead, expect crisp apple like flavours, a vibrant acidity that brings out those subtle halibut flavours.
Poached Halibut and American Wheat Beer
No matter if you’re drinking an American Wheat Beer or a Belgian Whitbier, you’ll have a fantastic pairing on hand with steamed or poached Halibut. For an American Wheat Beer, expect a light and crisp beer that won’t overwhelm the halibut flavours but rather heighten them. The slightly citrusy flavour of an American Wheat Beer is also a good foil against any fishy flavours.
Belgian Witbier is another fantastic match, as it is similar to its American counterpart. Slightly more hazy, and more spice on the nose, Belgian Witbier is a star with Halibut. It’s light enough to complement the delicate meat, while its tart citrus notes enhance the fish’s natural flavours.
German Weissbier will pair with Halibut as well, provided it’s not poached or steamed. Weissbier has notes of bubblegum, banana and clove that might crush poached Halibut. However, if you grill or roast the fish, so it has a caramelized skin, German Wheat Beer will have something to bite into and disappear with.
Vermentio and Halibut
Vermentino is a light-bodied white wine that has a sophisticated edge to it. One sip, and you’ll find aromas of pear, peach, lime, grapefruit and crushed gravel. While light, Vermentino is also creamy and bitter, and we find that this adds a bit of life to the Halibut, bringing an extra bit of body to a fish that might seem plain.
Pouilly-Fumé and Halibut
Pouilly-Fumé is a dry Sauvignon Blanc that features grassy notes along with lime, green apple, gooseberry, and smoky flint. While any Sauvnignon Blanc will pair with Halibut just fine, we find that Pouilly-Fumé has the perfect blend of green fruit, grass and smoky gunflint to add a bit of depth to this pairing.
Pinot Gris and Steamed Halibut
Pinot Gris is essentially Pinot Grigio, but is just a shade fruitier and offers flavours of peach, lemon zest and apple. These extra flavours bring a little pizzazz a plain preparation of Halibut as well as help match the medium body of Halibut. With a crisp acidity, the pairing of Pinot Gris and Steamed Halibut is incredibly lovely and will have you wanting to eat healthy more often.
Do you have a favourite Halibut and Wine Pairing? Let us know in the comments below!