Food and wine pairing: Grilled halibut and fino sherry

Dressed-up halibut and a nutty grilled side salad pair perfectly with some of Spain’s finest.

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Herb and olive halibut with grilled-bread salad
Herb and olive halibut. (Photo, Erik Putz.)

Sommelier Sara d’Amato and our kitchen present this month’s ideal match

Sherry may have the unfortunate reputation of being “Grandma’s drink,” but a younger generation of restaurateurs are reclaiming it. Especially hot at the moment are the savoury styles known as manzanilla and fino, from Jerez, in southern Spain. One of the great features of these varieties is their dryness, which allows them to transcend the aperitif/digestif category and be enjoyed with main courses. These styles are best served cool and consumed shortly after opening, like a table wine. In Spain, fino sherries are often paired with tapas and appetizers such as olives and nuts, since this very crisp, fortified drink complements briny, salty foods. Best of all, these wines are inexpensive and offer tremendous complexity for the price. This halibut dish takes inspiration from both Spain and Italy and riffs on sherry’s customary pairing with olives. Garlic, lemon and almonds make this match even better by lending the sherry a creaminess that lets the flavours of the dish pop.

Perfect pairing: Fino sherry + grilled halibut

Wine_Tito Pepe Palomino Fino Sherry
Nutty & peppery
Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Palomino Fino Extra Dry Sherry, Spain, from $17.
Wine_Alvear Fino sherry
Rich & Intense
Alvear Fino, Spain, from $13.
Wine_El maestro Sierra fino sherry
Floral & creamy
El Maestro Sierra Fino Sherry, Spain, from $12.