Sushi & Wine Anyone!

You might think sushi would be tricky to pair with wine but surprisingly that’s not the case. The devil is in the condiments, on how much soy sauce and wasabi paste you add.

NIGIRI

Fresh fish simply prepared over the top of a bed of rice.

Depending on what you do after is where things can get quite complicated. If simply eating the Nigiri plain, then stick to simple wines, like Pinot Grigio, Vermentino, Sauvignon Blanc, Champagne or Pinot Noir, Grenache, Frappato and Lambrusco not to overwhelm the dish.

However, if you add a little soy and wasabi, the nigiri is not so simple anymore. By adding spice and salt you are essentially adding complexity and body, so I suggest matching those flavours with your wine choice. Wines with a sense of sugar naturally calms down spice so Riesling, Roero Arneis and Chenin Blanc are excellent choices for the wasabi lovers. If you want reds, stick to wines lower in alcohol from cool regions. Red Burgundy or Cabernet Franc will always work well.

SASHIMI

I would start by breaking down the two main species, tuna and salmon.

Sticking again with body style, tuna is going to be the lighter of the two so stick to a lighter-style wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion, Prosecco for the white, Roses from Alsace and Burgundy, and Gamay from Beaujolais or the Loire Valley for a red.

As for Salmon we can entertain bigger wines to match the body of the fish. My personal favourite varietal of Chardonnay comes into play for the whites. Something with a little body but still offering plenty of minerality, Meursault, Chablis, Champagne. Sancerre, Langhe Arneis and Gavi will also pair. As for reds, still sticking to a light wine but from a warmer climate like a Californian Pinot Noir will leave you wanting more.

MAKI

Maki is a little more complex than nigiri and sashimi: fish, vegetables, and seaweed.

Since the sushi option is stepped up, the wine option needs to be stepped up too. Since seaweed has such a strong sense of the sea, stick to wines coming from a maritime climate. I suggest white wines such as a Spanish Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gruner Veltliner, or if you want to get bold, Vinho Verde from Portugal, can actually throw an element of the sea. For the red wine lovers, I suggest going back to Pinot Noir. The earthy tones that tend to exhibit themselves from this region should be perfect with the vegetables and the balance of fruit will add an extra angle to the maki.

My Conclusion:

I suggest to stay away from wines that are too showy or too full, and rather opt for wines with balance and subtlety, low alcohol with citrus acidity are always a good option.

 

 

 

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