Since sushi tends to be served as a small and lightweight snack, you need to be careful not to pair it with a wine that might end up overpowering the texture or taste of this popular Japanese cuisine.
When on the search for a glass of wine to enjoy alongside your sushi serving, you’re therefore going to want something that matches the weight of the sushi (low to medium) and that can add an extra layer of taste to the meal rather than turning it hollow.
With that in mind though, because of the many different ways that sushi can be served and the sheer amount of extra ingredients that a recipe can include, this does still give you free rein to experiment with a few different types of wine until you find one you like the most.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the very best wine pairings that go with sushi which will help elevate the underlying tangy and sweet fishy flavor that this dish is so beloved for.
1. Rosé + Sushi Rolls
The flavor of red wine can often tend to be a little too bitter for a lot of people, but when it comes to Rosè, it possesses a bright and fruity aroma that helps to make it taste a lot more upbeat and refreshing, making it ideal to match with virtually any type of sushi.
Rosè also works incredibly well as a natural enhancer, meaning it can effortlessly make any underlying flavors bubble straight to the surface, so you can expect the sushi to come out a lot sweeter when pairing it with a dash of Rosé.
This bubbly light wine pairs especially well with tuna, salmon, and crab which usually make an appearance in seafood sushi rolls, so if making a sushi dish taste even brighter and more fruity sounds ideal to you, Rosé is the perfect pairing to go with.
2. Riesling + Tuna Tataki
There aren’t many types of white wine that don’t mix well with sushi, but if we’re talking about varieties that will compliment the delicate fishy flavor of sushi the best, then Riesling needs to be brought into the conversation.
This white wine is renowned for being incredibly sweet, with very subtle hints of peach, pear, and grapefruit lying beneath the surface which all help to enhance the sweetness of the fishy ingredients tremendously while also cooling down hot servings such as tuna tataki.
While any variation of Riesling will pair well with sushi, always keep in mind while shopping that sweeter Riesling has a much stronger taste of peach and apricot, while dry Riesling is much more notable for its hints of apple and grapefruit.
3. Chenin Blanc + California Rolls
The crisp and lean flavors offered by Chenin Blanc wine make it most suitable for non-classic sushi dishes that are packed with extra ingredients to make each bite as flavorful as possible.
The flavor of Chenin Blanc never becomes too overpowering or in-your-face and will simply complement and uplift the sweet sensations provided by the seafood, especially since this white wine also contains hints of honey in its flavor.
The zippy acidity means that the wine will never become overshadowed, no matter how strong the ingredients in the sushi are, making it incredibly versatile and suitable for virtually any kind of sushi dish, from California rolls all the way to seafood cakes.
4. White Vinho Verde + Maki Roll
While there are many different variations of this wine, White Vinho Verde tends to taste the most exuberant and flavorful thanks to the six grapes that are used in its mixture, these being: Alvarinho, Arinto, Azel, Avesso, Loureiro, and Trajadura.
All of these combine together to create a mouthwatering aroma and flavor that tastes very similar to gooseberry and grapefruit, and since this wine only contains a moderate level of alcohol, it’s a perfect way to elevate the taste and texture of sushi to a whole new level.
Additionally, while not all types of Vinho Verde will be manufactured with carbonation, a lot of them are in order to grant each taste a bubbling sensation, and this added carbonation is perfect for cutting through heavier flavors that you might find in a maki roll, for example.
5. Viognier + Sushi Philadelphia Roll
Viognier is a wine that many people know for being fairly high in alcoholic content, with each bottle containing between 13-15%, but it is also a popular pairing with many food recipes because of its rich and slightly spicy flavor that is such a pleasant surprise on the taste buds.
When paired with a sushi dish, it helps keep each ingredient’s tasting as fresh and vibrant as possible, while the hint of honeysuckle helps to even out the sweetness of the ingredients to make it a little more bearable for people who may not have much of a sweet tooth.
If the Viognier is oak-aged, it will add a rich and creamy sensation to the flavor which can implement an entirely new level of texture to the sushi, making it that much more delightful to chew on.
6. Chardonnay + Inarizushi
Apple, pear, lemon, and ginger all make an appearance in Chardonnay, with this medium to full-bodied dry white wine being a lot more bitter than it is sweet.
Therefore, Chardonnay is able to cut through the intense flavor provided by some of the sweeter sushi dishes such as inarizushi and anything that involves lots of soy sauce.
Chardonnay also contains very delicate hints of vanilla which lingers on the tastebuds for a few seconds after consumption, so if you did want to add a creamy, floral, and rum-like flavor to the fish, this wine is a great option to go with (You might also want to check out Cioppino Wine Pairing).
It should also be said that because of how beloved Chardonnay is, being recognized as the world’s most popular white wine, it can often be on the pricier side in terms of its overall cost.
Therefore, it is worth pairing for those special and fancy occasions when you really want to blow your guests away with a sushi combo that tastes unlike anything they have ever tasted before.
7. Pinot Grigio + Hamachi Sashimi
If you like the idea of adding a hint of citrus to your sushi, Pinot Grigio might be just what you need, especially since it is also incredibly easy to consume thanks to the light spicy aroma that emanates from the glass.
While the citrus is what really steals the show here, the underlying flavors of honeysuckle and grapefruit ensure that it never comes out too unpleasant or acidic, especially when combined with the much sweeter taste of the ingredients combined together in sushi.
Overall, this crisp white wine is most compatible with lighter sushi dishes which are already refreshing in their taste, such as hamachi sashimi and tuna poke, for example.
The fruity and zesty nature of this wine will allow the fishy flavor to taste even more elegant and refreshing which is always great for those days when the temperatures are sky-high.
8. Prosecco + Sashimi
It’s hard to find any type of food that Prosecco doesn’t pair well with.
Whether it’s cured meat, a salad, or even some tacos, the bubbly and citrusy taste of this fan-favorite wine can help breathe life into any dish it is paired with, and that undoubtedly includes sushi too.
Because Prosecco is a fairly simple beverage that doesn’t go too over-the-top with extra ingredients or flavors, it’s a great way to cleanse the palate after each bite you take.
If you decide to pick up some extra-dry Prosecco, it will also enhance the sweetness of the seafood and the sauces, but at the same time, it also works great with sashimi since the subtle sweetness will complement the saltiness of this raw fish effortlessly.
Prosecco also pairs exceptionally well with shrimp tempura rolls and crispy rice sushi too.
9. Red Burgundy + Masago
Anyone who has ever tasted Red Burgundy wine will know very well how acidic it can be, which can often make it slightly unpleasant to drink on its own when it’s not paired up with anything else.
Luckily, the incredibly noticeable flavor provided by the pinot noir grapes can easily stand up to the much bolder flavors found in many sushi recipes that use tuna and salmon, creating a delightful contrast of flavors that makes each bite even more delicious than the last.
Because of how potent Red Burgundy wine can be to taste, it is best to avoid pairing it with lighter sushi dishes and instead, keep a glass to one side when you’re ready to feast on a meal or snack that has much more intense flavors, such as those found in masago.
10. Sauvignon Blanc + Tempura Rolls
The slight effervescence of Sauvignon Blanc pairs so well with deep-fried sushi like tempura since the herby and green-pepper flavor grants the batter a very fruity flavor that makes it such a treat to enjoy when you want something small and delicate to chew on.
Sauvignon Blanc also has a very high amount of acidity which ensures it never feels like an afterthought when you come to taste it.
Instead, it acts as an incredibly fruitful and delicious palette cleanser that makes those crunchier sushi dishes such a joy to snack on.
These days, you can find bottles of Sauvignon Blanc sourced from New Zealand in many stores for under $10, so it can be worth buying it to pair with a sushi meal and then saving it to use again for a celebration or special occasion at some point down the line.
11. Grüner Veltliner + Dragon Rolls
This Austrian wine is a necessity if you are planning to enjoy any sushi that involves grilled eel such as a dragon roll, otherwise, this smoky and sweet ingredient can end up tasting a little too caramelized and rich for a lot of people’s liking.
The zesty lime flavor of this national treasure will cut right through the richness of the eel, helping to make it a lot easier to digest while also leaving behind an incredibly pleasant white pepper aftertaste that prevents the eel from ever tasting too sickly in the mouth.
Grilled eel is an incredibly vital ingredient in many sushi recipes, especially those based on the immensely popular unagi sushi dish, so it’s best to counteract the strength of this seafood with a drink that tastes just as delightful.
12. Albariño + Shrimp Tempura Rolls
The medium to high levels of acidity contained within this clear white wine is ideal for when you’re about to chow down on the crispy, buttery, and salty flavors of a shrimp tempura roll or really any type of sushi that includes this incredibly popular ingredient.
Lemon, lime, and even a hint of beeswax are all very prominent within this beverage, but when it’s been aged for a little while, hints of nuts and almonds can also begin to appear which is perfect if you want to experiment with the shrimp and make it a little more bitter.
The aromas of nectarine and lime are enough to catch a whiff of from the next room, so your guests will immediately know that they are about to be in for something special alongside their sushi before they even taste the wine for themselves.
There are so many different types of wine that you can pair with a plate of sushi to make it taste as vibrant and delicious as it can, so it never hurts to experiment with a mixture of flavors that can help complement specific ingredients used as part of the overall meal.
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