Thought you couldn’t find a wine that tastes great with Sushi? Think again! Even though wine is a decidedly Western tradition, the right selection can create a knock-out combination with Eastern food. Try experimenting with one of these great wine choices the next time you order up some Sashimi or your favorite Sushi Roll.
The flavors on a Sushi menu run the gamut from light and buttery to pungent and earthy, but you can enhance almost any dish with a crisp, fresh white wine. The only white to steer clear of is Sauvignon Blanc — the strong grapefruit or cat pee notes (yes, cat pee!) are too much for delicate fish. But you can’t go wrong with un-oaked whites and (believe it or not) a few light reds.
You will never be disappointed with a Sparkling wine such as Cava, Prosecco or Cremant de Alsace. The tangy, tingly bubbles are a great counterpoint to Sake (Salmon) and a lot of fun with a California Roll.
Whites from cool climates such as Alsace, Austria and Germany have great acidity and minerality, which balance the richness of more strongly flavored seafood. Look for a Pinot Gris, Dry Riesling or Gruner Veltliner (this wine is relatively new to U.S. wine drinkers, but is well worth seeking out as an alternative to Sauvignon Blanc). Any of these are a killer combo with Hamachi (Yellowtail Tuna).
Go for a Gewurtraminer with spicier dishes such as that includes Spicy Tuna. You’ll love how the stone fruit and spice in the wine work with the heat of the roll, and it even stands up to Wasabi!
And for all you red wine lovers, yes, you can sip red with your Sushi, especially with stronger, more pungent dishes such as Maguro (Big Eye Tuna) or Unagi (eel). Stay away from the heavy, tannic reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon (which bring out the metallic “fishiness” in fish), and go for a lighter, fruitier red. Think French Beaujolais or California Pinot Noir; the wine’s berry notes and hint of earthiness will bring out the best in the seafood.
And don’t pass up the pink wines. Dry Roses from France or Spain have just enough fruit character to stand up to complex flavors, while still being snappy on your palate.
Any way you pour it, there’s a wine that will take your Sushi experience over the top. Find out for yourself what can happen when East on your plate meets West in your glass. Cheers and Kanpai!