While the debate about what the hardest food to pair wine with usually devolves into artichokes and asparagus, sushi is regularly mentioned as being difficult to pair wine with, in part because of the myriad of flavors at work, especially when a wide range of sushi is selected. So, what are some good wine choices for sushi? Which wines can you order with confidence when ordering sushi for a meal?
Dry rose’s are good pairings for sushi that uses salmon as a focus. The crispness of the wine does a nice job of cutting through the rich fattiness of the fish. Pinot Noir is a good substitute pairing here as well as it traditionally goes well with salmon. If you decide to use pinot noir as your pairing, look for a lighter, fruitier one.
Both Gewurztraminer and an off-dry Riesling are good options for pairing with spicier sushi selections, such as the always popular spicy tuna rolls. Both of these varietals can run the gamut from dry with mineral notes to the sweeter side of the spectrum, so be sure to consult with your server, bartender, or sommelier to make sure you get the right one to pair with your sushi and to suit your palate. For a good substitute, look to Sauvignon Blanc, particularly those from Chile. They tend towards crisp citrus notes that are also good for pairing with spicier sushi selections.
Pinot Gris/Gruner Veltliner
Pinot Gris and Gruner Veltliner both present crisp, dry, mineral notes, making them a good pairing with crab and shrimp based sushi selections. As a substitute, dry sparkling wines such as Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco can work well so long as you choose one that leans towards the Brut side.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Pairing wine with sushi doesn’t have to be a terrifying experience. The best advice is to find a wine that suits your palate and then see if it goes well with your sushi. If the pairing isn’t to your liking, don’t be afraid to ask your waiter or bartender to suggest something different. Lots of sushi bars and restaurants are sporting better and better wine lists that are tailored to fit their selections, so finding a wine to pair with your sushi is easier now than ever before.