12 Awesome Wine Pairings with Halibut


Quick Answer: Best Wine Pairings with Halibut

The next time you wish to cook a dish of halibut, get yourself a good bottle of wither Madeira, Marsala, Sherry, Pinot Noir, Chablis, or Vin jaune to amp up the entire meal.

If you’re looking for your ideal wine accompaniment with a halibut dish, look no more!

I bring to you, the perfect curation of the top wines that you can pair with your next halibut meal!

Before we get to the wines, let us understand what exactly halibut and its flavors include are.

A Bit About Halibut

A subtle white fish with tastes resembling that of crabs or tilapia, halibut is an ideal fish for those who don’t enjoy eating seafood.

Known for its excellent quality of absorbing the seasonings well, halibut has a residual sweet and mild taste and doesn’t have a strong aroma to it either.

When it comes to cooking, halibut can be cooked through the processes of baking, deep-frying, pan-seared, or can be grilled to perfection.

Now that we know what halibut is, let’s get right to its ideal wine pairings.

Best Wines To Go With Halibut

Here is the list of my top wine picks along with why I love them –

1. Sherry

TasteBone dry to very sweet
Primary FlavorsJackfruit, preserved lemon, Brazil nut
Serving Temperature (C)12- 15 degrees C
Glass TypeDessert
Storage (years)1-5 years
Wine BodyMedium-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)More than 15 %

Sherry is known to be a fortified wine (wines that have strong alcohol mixed into it to aid fermentation) from Spain that is versatile in its range of tastes.

With its minimal tannins, high acidity, decent shelf life, and medium body combined with flavors ranging from jackfruit, Brazil nut with hints of salinity, and almonds, Sherry is predominantly known to be a dessert wine.

Its range in taste allows it to pair beautifully with smoked or grilled fish, halibut included, ones with a hint of either spice or salt to compliment the type of sherry that you drink with it.

2. Madeira

OriginThe Portuguese island of Madeira
Primary FlavorsBurnt caramel, walnut oil, peach
Serving Temperature (C)12 - 15 degrees C
Glass TypeDessert
Storage (years)10 +years
Wine BodyFull-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)More than 15%

Joining sherry in the oxidized and fortified wine list, Madeira is a Portuguese delight that is known to age for almost 100 years!

Predominantly a sweet, full-bodied, medium acidic dessert wine, Madeira’s claim to fame is its flavor range, which includes burnt caramel, walnut oil, hazelnut, and orange peels.

With a storage life of more than 10 years, Madeira works wonders, especially in the reduction of sauces, which makes it a great accompaniment with crab-like meats like halibut \ while cooking.

The tartaric acidity of the wine can add a new depth of flavor to the fish making it a great pair.

3. Marsala

OriginSicily, Italy
TasteSweet or dry
Primary FlavorsStewed apricot, vanilla, tamarind
Serving Temperature (C)12-15 degrees C
Glass TypeDessert
Storage (years)10 +years
Wine BodyFull-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)More than 15%

Another fortified beauty from Sicily, marsala makes a great wine either to make sauces or to just sip along with a good seafood dish.

Vanilla, brown sugar, and tobacco are its prominent flavors, making it a full-bodied, low tannin, mildly acidic, and highly alcoholic dessert wine.

The marsala mushroom sauce goes splendidly with pan-fried or sautéed fish and the ability of the halibut to be able to absorb the seasonings it is made in provides a great combination with the same.

4. Bourgogne Blanc – Burgundy white

NameBourgogne Blanc
OriginBurgundy, France
Primary FlavorsApple, lemon, mostly citrus
Serving Temperature (C)10- 12 degrees C
Glass TypeMontrachet
Storage (years)4-10 years
Wine BodyMedium-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)12.5-13.5%

Bourgogne Blanc is a French exquisite white wine from the region called Burgundy.

The region is known for its irreplaceable geography, climate, land, traditions, and winemaking process and the Bourgogne Blanc is the exact representation of this gold standard region.

This wine is light to medium-bodied, with a practically dry taste from the 100 percent chardonnay grapes used.

It is a tad higher in acidity level and has about 12.5-13.5 percent alcohol. A white burgundy will leave its taster with flavors ranging from citrus to apple and peaches to pears.

The wine when paired with halibut provides the taster with an exquisite coastal taste with the mild sweetness of the fish along with the dry yet fruity tastes of the wine.

The additional citrusy aromas and flavors of the wine add to the entire experience of eating the fish.

Check this video out to get a brief about this wine:

5. Chablis, French

OriginChablis in Burgundy, France
TasteBone dry
Primary FlavorsQuince, starfruit, lime peel
Serving Temperature (C)7- 12 degrees C
Glass TypeWhite
Storage (years)10-12 years
Wine BodyLight-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)11.5-13.5 %

This less oak used wine hailing from a region in Burgundy named after the wine itself is a bone dry, medium to highly acidic wine that is crisp and light!

The great shelf life along with the considerable alcohol content makes the Chablis a drink to cherish with its flavors ranging from quince to starfruit and lemon peel.

The wine is also known for the hint of chalk that it holds.

Chablis acts like a great palette cleanser and often is spotted as a leading pair with a creamy sauce. Halibut, when made with such sauce will pair exceedingly well with a glass of Chablis wine.

The taste profile from the lack of oak aging complements the freshness of the halibut meat whisking one to a journey of flavors.

6. Vin Jaune

NameVin jaune
Primary FlavorsTurpentine, dry pair, rose candy
Serving Temperature (C)7-12 degrees C
Glass TypeDessert
Storage (years)10 +years
Wine BodyMedium- full-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)More than 15%

An exceptionally rare wine from France with literal nose-catching, bizarre aromas, vin jaune is a classic to add to your next nutty French dish.

With primary flavors including turpentine, rose candy, and fennel, this medium to highly acidic wine with a moderate serving temperature makes for a great accompaniment for dishes, especially those that contain cheese.

The blank canvas of taste that halibut provides with hints of salinity, along with the dry taste of a good bottle of vin jaune, makes this combination is one for the food and wine fanatics to try out!

7. Chardonnay

NameCalifornia chardonnay
OriginCalifornia, USA
Primary FlavorsYellow apple, starfruit, pineapple
Serving Temperature (C)7- 12 degrees C
Glass TypeAroma Collector
Storage (years)5-10 years
Wine BodyMedium-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)13.5-15%

Chardonnay, apart from being a world-famous grape, has a wide-ranging ability from being a sparkling delight to a rich creamy wine.

Hailing from both France and the USA, this dry, medium acidic, medium-bodied, low-tannin wine is an all-time meal favorite.

With the prominent flavors of yellow apple, starfruit, pineapples, and soothing vanilla, chardonnay is a highly alcoholic wine that pairs with the finest of foods.

When it comes to a fish-like halibut, the fruity and somewhat creamy texture of the chardonnay makes for a great accompaniment for a less spiced fish dish.

To up your chardonnay game a bit more, click on this link to an informational video –

8. Pinot Gris

NamePinot Gris
TasteFresh and spicy
Primary FlavorsTropical fruit, stone fruit, citrus
AcidityRelatively low acidity
Serving Temperature (C)45-50 degrees  
Glass TypeChardonnay white wine glass
Storage (years)1-4 years
Wine BodyMedium to light
Alcohol % (ABV)13.5 to 14%

Pinot Gris, aka pinot grigio, is considered a pinot noirs pink grape mutation thus giving rise to tangy white wines with a range in its taste from dry to very sweet.

Notably from Italy, the wine is medium to highly acidic with a considerably minimal shelf life. It is medium-bodied and is served best moderately cold.

With a vast array of flavors ranging from cantaloupe, white peach, and even gravel, this wine tastes fantastic when paired with white fish meat like halibut especially when they have a tinge of citrus or other fruity flavors.

A soft-baked halibut, when served with this wine, would make for a sophisticated dish on its own

For a quick roundabout on pinot gris, check out this video –

9. Viognier

TasteFruity and creamy
Primary FlavorsTangerine, mango, honeysuckle, and vanilla
AcidityLow acidity
Serving Temperature (C)50 degrees  
Glass TypeTraditional white wine glass
Storage (years)5-6 years
Wine BodyMedium bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)13.5 to 15%

Known for its rich and oily texture, Viognier is a wine from the northern Rhône which is slowly gaining popularity close to home in California.

This dry and medium acidic wine which is highly alcoholic and low on tannins is known for its tangy and tropical flavors along with a hint of rose.

When it comes to pairing food with this medium-bodied wine, seafood is at the particular top of the list.

The sweetness of the fresh halibut fish cuts through with the rich texture of a good glass of viognier making it an ideal combination for a dinner party.

Care must be taken to not pair the wine with something highly acidic or bold as it may affect the flowery taste and smell of the wine.

Crave some extra information? Check this video out –

10. Riesling

Primary FlavorsLime, green apple, jasmine
Serving Temperature (C)3-7 degrees C
Glass TypeWhite
Storage (years)10+ years
Wine BodyLight-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)Under 10%

A German-made treat for the taste buds, Riesling is a highly aromatic white wine variety that is highly acidic and light-bodied with a strong residual mineral taste.

It is known to be off-dry, the term encompassing its range from being bone-dry to extremely sweet. It is best served chilled in a white wine glass and has a comparatively minimal alcohol level.

The wine has traces of beeswax and petroleum in its taste thus attracting connoisseurs from all around. It is known to go best with spicy food thus cooking halibut with spices or in a spicy sauce should do the trick.

The earthy and citrusy tastes that dominate the drink-pair perfectly with the semi-sweet taste of the halibut.

Check out this video for some more information on this wine-

11. Sauvignon Blanc

NameSauvignon Blanc
TasteDry and fruity
Primary FlavorsBlackcurrant, cedar, oaks, herbs
AcidityHighly acidic
Serving Temperature (C)59-68 degrees 
Glass TypeBordeaux / Standard red
Storage (years)7-10 years
Wine BodyMedium to full
Alcohol % (ABV)Over 13.5%

With the ability to grow almost anywhere, Sauvignon Blanc is a highly acidic, dry wine that brings the best out of itself when grown in the geographical areas of either New Zealand or France.

This light- medium-bodied wine contains a considerable amount of alcohol depending on where it’s grown along with minimal tannins.

A good Sauvignon Blanc will get its taster back to the ground so pairing it with a dish having light, airy and herby flavors will do the trick.

A well-cooked halibut with an herby sauce paired with a good bottle of Sauvignon Blanc will be divine!

Want to know more about Sauvignon Blanc? Here’s is a quick wrap up –

12. Pinot Noir

NamePinot noir
TasteDry and sweet
Primary FlavorsCherry and raspberry
AcidityBright acidity
Serving Temperature (C)55-60 degrees 
Glass TypeBurgundy
Storage (years)5 years
Wine BodyLight - Medium
Alcohol % (ABV)12-15%

A delectable wine from France, pinot noir is known for its flowery, fruity, and spicy aromas along with its smooth finish.

It is primarily a dry wine with flavors of cherry, raspberry, and mushroom gaining prominence. Pinot noir is highly acidic and medium-bodied and has a great shelf life of more than ten years.

The low tannin and high acidity combination of this wine make it extremely versatile. It goes particularly well when sipped with light meats

A moderately spicy/ garlic and ginger flavored fish thus would pair exceedingly well with this dryness and earthy flavors of this red wine.

Wine Pairing Guide with Halibut

The halibut fish is known to cater to palettes that aren’t familiar or those that don’t accept seafood dishes thus marking its versatility.

Hence pairing this fish with a wine with this same versatility is a need.

Because of the natural lightweight and white meat of the halibut, a similar light-bodied medium to highly acidic wine is preferred.

Wines that have a medium alcohol content, and have natural herby or spice-induced flavor add a certain kick to the dish that elevates it overall.

Care must be taken to not use a wine that has excessively high flavors or strong aromas as it could counter the seasoning of the fish thus leading to a certain imbalance.


What wine goes with fish, red or white?

Despite white wines being the go-to pair with fish, wines like pinot noir, zinfandel, or merlot that come under the red wine category make for a great seafood pairing.

Bottom Line

I hope this detailed wine pairing guide with halibut is useful the next time you wish to venture into making a dish out of this wish.

Feel free to let us know which your favorite halibut and wine pairings are and which wines could one day make this list.

Don’t forget to share this article to spread the word for the ideal drink you wish to have the next time the kitchen smells like a plate of halibut!

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About Jane Lewis

Jane loves spending time with her family, cooking delicious meals, traveling to explore new cultures and wines, and tending to her backyard garden. She's a passionate home cook who enjoys trying out recipes from all over the world.

1 thought on “12 Awesome Wine Pairings with Halibut”

  1. Chateau Ste. Michelle wines are from Washington State, not California. Which I think makes them such good value; if they were from California, they would probably be 2 – 3x the price.


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