Sushi’s popularity has raised over the years as it has become a luxury standard in many countries such as the US and great parts of Europe. The greatest thing about sushi is the fact that it can be easily combined with many other delightful options like wines. However, wine with sushi could be considered a bizarre combination by certain individuals (especially those who aren’t that deep into wine) as alcohol and strong flavors might not get well with the rich and tasty ingredients of sushi, making this experience a complete disaster if any random wine is chosen.
But what would happen if the correct type of wine is chosen as a pairing? Would the experience be completely different? The answer is yes! But there is a deep explanation in all of these affirmations and is important to discover everything about this interesting yet exclusive pairing that could change many sushi nights and parties. The next article will focus on providing advanced and relevant information about wine and sushi pairing and to do so many types of wine that pair wells with sushi will be listed to avoid selecting the worst possible combinations in the future.
What Wine Goes With Sushi?
Before going further in the topic, is important to note that the main reason why not every wine will do the trick is mainly because of the main ingredients of sushi which consists of sushi rice and raw fish (maki, sashimi, salmon, and sushi). While affordable sushi can be found in many places, it’s a standard of luxury and used in celebrations (at least in the Japanese culture) meaning that it would be ideal to pair it with any other thing that is not water.
Despite what many individuals think, wine and sushi are a powerful pairing but only when the correct conditions are met at the same moment. First of all, the correct type of wine must be chosen wisely to guarantee an explosion of flavor and correct enjoyment of the dish and the second is having a complete understanding of the fact that not every sushi dish is made with the same type of fish, meaning that getting as many details as possible before ordering the wine will be a game-changer in the experience. With that being said, let us begin with the list of the wines that can be paired with sushi.
List of Wines that Can be Paired With Sushi:
While it might be true that combining red wine with fish is not a great idea in the great majority of cases, Pinot Noir manages to hold its ground when paired with sushi for many reasons. The key to combining fish with sushi is strongly based on picking a light-bodied red with mild tannins and Pinot Noir wines follow the exact same description.
Avoiding red wines (other than Pinot Noir) will be the main objective when trying to order sushi with wine as they normally come with strong tannins that will make the fish taste like scrap metal and furthermore a prestigious meal can become a notorious nightmare in no time.
For those who like names, forget about ordering Red Burgundy at all costs and try to match Pinot Noir with tuna or salmon as they provide the best taste when paired with this type of wine.
White Wines: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon, and Riesling.
As it stands, ordering white wines will be the best bet as they will be more pleasant to combine with sushi as they promote a flavor explosion when combined with sushi rice and certain fishes.
Thanks to their exclusive aromas, the raw fish of the sushi will prove to be a pleasant experience for the lucky individual that gets to enjoy such a delightful pairing, but hold on for a second as there are different cases within white wines and everything depends on the type of fish, so check the next cases and recommendations that will focus on Chardonnay, Sauvignon, and Riesling
For classic sushi or those that prefer sashimi or maki above other fishes, ordering a Chardonnay wine will be more than ideal as it will come with woody notes that promote better aromas and concentration of flavor during the experience.
However, it’s also recommended to select Chardonnay for fatty fishes like Salmon, but it must be avoided by individuals who are not too comfortable with wine as it could become a little troublesome experience in the long run.
Chenin Blanc is a kind of white wine that is not that popular when options like Chardonnay and Riesling are offered. However, when it comes to pairing wines with sushi the situation drastically changes as this type of wine promotes a great floral aroma that can emulate the smell of mango, citrus fruit, pineapple, and pear, meaning that it would not be a problem when paired with sushi.
However, as it has been said before, avoid choosing sweet wines at all costs, as this could cause unpleasant situations and flavors that will not allow the sushi to taste like expected, and furthermore, it would cause a deep impact on the experience. Sadly with Chenin Blanc, many things can go wrong if certain conditions are not met, first of all, avoid getting the sweet variations, and secondly, watch out for the condiments of the sushi. Knowing the food will make the drink taste even better as infinite possibilities could be achieved.
Sauvignon and Riesling:
There will be times when instead of being offered a certain type of fish, the plate consists of a great variety of fishes, and this could become a problem with wine pairings. That would be the case if Sauvignon and Riesling did not exist but luckily they do! And thanks to that a good harmony can be created when any of these two wines are at the scene as their floral nature will be ironically what tastes better with seafood.
This could be a dangerous bet, especially on long nights, meaning that is not something that anyone should choose when the previously listed options are available. But, if the individual counts with a certain degree of experience with wines then there should not be any problem when choosing a Rosé wine.
French Rosés will make a perfect example that can be easily paired with sushis that are made of salmon or tuna as they combine reasonably well with seafood in general. However, the sauces and condiments will play a meaningful role in this situation as they could cause a flavor problem, that’s where the issue with ‘long nights’ is developed, the stomach of many individuals can suffer a little when no considerations are taken.
Sparkling Wines: Champagne.
Since sushi is a dish that is mainly used for celebrations and in special situations, it would not be an issue to combine a flashy wine like the sparkling options with this extravagant dish. It is extremely important to avoid sweet sparkling wines to reduce the possibility of overtaking the flavor of the dish.
That’s why Champagne is the common choice for many individuals as it proves to be more than enough for the situation thanks to its beautiful echo and taste. Just be careful on finishing the wine first as it could be a little troublesome for the stomach on long nights.
After understanding what wine goes with sushi, it is easy to think that you will be ready for any sushi party or meeting, and that could be true for many, but for others, there still could be some trouble. The greatest thing about the wine world is the fact that experiences do matter a lot as even with the basic knowledge of understanding what kind of dishes can be enjoyed and what needs to be avoided is possible. This time it might be sushi which is frankly an easy-to-digest option as it does not come with many ingredients, but what if the next time you are dealing with more complex dishes?
That’s why this should not be the end of the experience, in fact, this should be only a stepping stone to stay on track and keep learning more about wines and their impact on modern food and celebrations, there’s a lot of potential hidden in these bottles that pack tons of surprise and enjoyment for many and forgettable moments for others.