Fishworks halibut started out well with Stag’sHollow Viognier Marsanne, but the best match might just surprise you – Tim Pawsey photo

This week we managed to get our hands on a sizeable, freshly caught Robson Bight Sockeye, which has already served us deliciously well.

As we were busy butchering and deboning we found ourselves wondering about wine. Again.

It must be a couple of decades since Joshua Wesson’s ground-breaking book Red Wine with Fish: the new art of Matching Wine with Food went a long way to rewriting the old adage that you shouldn’t serve anything but white with fish. But our guess is a lot of folks still grab the closest bottle of Chardonnay when plotting their salmon pairing.

Too bad.

Hint: especially with Sockeye, a lightly chilled, silky cherry and toned Quails Gate 08 Pinot Noir will do the trick, $24.99. (Or, if you’re counting your pennies, Gallo California Label 08 Pinot, BCLS $8.99, is a good budget match that’s varietally correct.)

We also found ourselves thinking back to an exceptionally good meal we enjoyed earlier this summer at (mainly sustainable) Fishworks—91 Lonsdale Ave, North Vancouver, 778-340-3449—where  we tasted a wide range of Stag’s Hollow wines.

There were plenty of highlights, starting with a superb lobster bisque (matched with Stag’s Hollow’s well-balanced 2008 Viognier Marsanne).

However, the revelation was a perfectly cooked Queen Charlotte halibut fillet, served with a daring but moderately spicy, roasted jalapeno, blackberry and tomato ragout, perched on a mascarpone risotto cake.

Our initial match was the Viognier Marsanne, which has the texture and richness to carry the fish and, to a point, the sauce. But who knew that halibut and jalapeno would pair so well with Stag’s Hollow’s powerful, smoky and peppery 2008 Syrah? But it did, its black fruit also amplified by the blackberry in the ragout.