The Best Wine Pairings for Sushi
With the wide range of flavours you’ll encounter when eating sushi, finding a wine pairing to go with your meal might come across as being a real challenge. Fortunately, this isn’t the case although there are definitely some things to consider.
- Spice – whether this be from wasabi or a spicy sauce, you’ll want to keep the level of heat in mind.
- Soya – salty loves sweetness, so if you use lots of soya sauce, consider a white wine with just a touch of residual sugar.
- The slight sweetness of the sticky rice.
- Raw fish and seaweed are tricky to pair but do well with dry mineral whites.
Here are a few wine suggestions for your next sushi meal.
1. Sauvignon Blanc
With its stunning minerality and bright citrus-driven flavours, Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent wine to drink with sushi.
A rule of thumb for you: always order a Loire Sauvignon Blanc with sushi.
Those from warm climates like Napa in California are too ripe and are often oaked. New Zealand’s examples are too grassy. Your best bet is to go with Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé.
Bubbles go beautifully with sushi but make sure you pop open a bottle of extra brut or even a zero dosage sparkling wine. The drier the better.
Try Tarlant Zero Brut Nature or Juve y Camps Cava Brut Nature if you’re keeping an eye on your wallet.
3. Grüner Veltliner
Dry, mineral, and slightly savoury, Grüner checks all the boxes for pairing with sushi. Crab and shrimp, in particular, is lovely with this wine. Try Nikolaihof, they make some of the best examples of Grüner Veltliner in the world.
Or pick up one of their dry Rieslings – the minerality and purity of the wine complement sushi perfectly.
Dry to off-dry Rieslings will beautifully complement the saltiness of the soya sauce. You’ll find both versions made in Germany – look for Kabinett or Spatlese on the label.
Alsace also makes lovely Rieslings, but these are completely dry in most cases. If you’d like to try something outside of the classic Rieslings of Germany and Alsace, try their New World counterparts from Australia’s Clare or Eden Valleys or those from Washington State like the Eroica Riesling from Columbia Valley.
One more reason to love rosé; it goes with almost everything and the tricky to pair sushi is no exception. You’ll want to reach for a dry yet fruity bottle. Try Chateau Léoube’s Rosé de Léoube.
Is Red wine any good?
Red wines don’t really work well with sushi but there are exceptions to this rule. It’s a no-no with raw fish but if you say, have an unagi (barbecued eel) roll drenched in soya sauce, you can get away with a savoury red – just avoid anything with high tannins.
Rhone Valley Grenache or Spanish Garnacha from Cariñena is a great bet. We recommend Domaine de Cristia Gigondas or Corona de Aragon Anayon on the Spanish side.