Which Wine Goes Best with Halibut?

August 28, 2007

The other night, inspired by the Roasted Tomato Roundup I was putting together (and by a recipe from Figs Olives Wine), I made an impromptu Slow-roasted-tomatoes0009dinner, tossing cherry tomatoes and chunks of eggplant with olive oil, garlic, thyme and olives and roasting it all in a well-worn Le Creuset pan until the mixture was fragrant and saucy and delish. Then I spooned the luscious concoction next to a divine piece of halibut I’d bought that afternoon from my Farmers’ Market Fish Man (I finally paid him . . . I told him I was self-imposing a $5 interest for being so late and he laughed. He’d forgotten I owed him.).

The flavors so clearly screamed SOUTH OF FRANCE to me that I pulled a Grenache (a Garnacha actually; the Spanish—and original—name of the grape that’s called Grenache in France, where it’s grown extensively in the Southern Rhone) from the closet without even thinking. But it was a warm night, and my husband wanted something fresher, so he popped a Sauvignon Blanc that he’d stashed in the carport fridge.

What to do? Take out four glasses of course.

It was an interesting lesson in wine and food pairing. Many people are under the impression that there’s a “perfect match” for any given food. Not so. A wine’s flavor profile may complement or contrast with the flavors in a dish—and both are valid. In our little experiment, the flavors of the Grenache were a mellow match, in a sort of lock-step with the earthiness of the eggplant and olives and the fruitiness of the roasted tomatoes. The Sauvignon Blanc, by contrast, was like a palate cleanser after every sip, leaving you ready to experience the flavors of the dish anew with each bite.

If you’ve never looked at wine and food pairing from a complement or contrast perspective before, I heartily urge you to give it a shot. And let me know what you find!



3 Responses to “Which Wine Goes Best with Halibut?”

  1. Maureen Says:

    Hmm…that’s a tough question. I like your solution of pouring both!

    As much as I love sauvignon blanc in the summer, my thought when I read the halibut preparation was a nice dry French rose’.

  2. lia Says:

    Maureen, I think that is a splendid suggestion. In fact, if we made it a Rose de Grenache it would be like having the best of both worlds!

    Have a great weekend . . .


  3. […] I’ve mentioned before, you can take a couple of different routes when pairing wine and food, the two most well-trodden being complementing or contrasting. But I made it my mission this […]

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