wine and sushi combo

September 10, 2018

The Best Wine With Sushi: 5 Truly Amazing Pairings

by April

When you go out to eat, you don’t just want a tasty meal; you want an experience.

Learning how to best pair your beverages with your meal can make for a dining experience that you won’t soon forget.
Why are beverage pairings so essential to get right when you’re dining out? It’s because different drinks will enhance the flavors in both the food and the beverage. It’s true that most of the time, people choose either sake or beer to drink with their sushi meal. If you’re not a fan of these two drinks, don’t just settle for water or soda. You might want to branch out and try a glass of wine to go with your sushi dinner.
A fine wine can compliment any meal, but there are so many varieties of wine to choose from. To get the most out of your dining experience, you’ll need to get your wine choice right. So, what’s the best wine to go with sushi? Check out these 5 incredible wine pairings and try them for yourself!
When most people order sushi, their go-to beverage is usually sake or the Japanese brand beer Sapporo. While both drinks are an excellent accompaniment to any sushi dish, you might want to try something a little different. If you’ve gotten sick of your usual dinner beverage picks, then it’s time for you to branch out!
On the surface, it might not seem like wine would pair well with sushi. But a great glass of wine can be the perfect addition to any tasty sushi feast. You might be skeptical, but many wines can complement any traditional Japanese fare. And, some wines will pair better with your sashimi than others. If you’re a wine lover excited at the prospect of using one of your favorite drinks to go with your sushi dinner, you’ll want to know which wines are the best choice.
With so many different wines to choose from, it can seem intimidating to find the right one. There are white, red, and blush wines, champagnes, and dry and sweet wines to choose from.
If you have a decent idea of what kind of drink you’re looking for, then navigating the wine menu at any restaurant is a breeze. Don’t feel discouraged if you’re unsure of which wine pairs best with sushi. Everyone starts at zero. Below, we’ve got a list of fine wines that can pair well with your sushi dinner if you’re a novice. Our inventory isn’t meant to be definitive, but more like a helpful guideline to give you an idea of what wines are an excellent choice for seafood dishes.
So what’s the best wine for a sushi dinner? Read on for our top 5 fabulous pairings and try them out for yourself for your next dinner reservation.

1. Off-dry Riesling

Rieslings are a traditional dry, white wine from Germany. These types of wines are made from a specific grape that only grows in some areas of the German countryside. The origin of the drink and the grape itself is still a mystery. But the German Riesling is an excellent choice for many dishes.
Traditionally, rieslings were considered an after-dinner dessert wine. Rieslings have a reputation for being crisp and refreshing. As far as flavors go, rieslings can be sweet, to medium sweet to dry. When you’re eating sushi, a dry riesling will pair best with the meal. Are you ordering something hot like a tuna tataki with spicy ponzu? Then an off-dry Riesling is the perfect pairing for that dish. Sweeter wines will cut the spice and cool your palate. So with a spicy hot dish, your best bet will always be a dry wine.

2. Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir wines from Willamette Valley share striking similarities to wines from France’s Burgundy region, which is also a hub of winemaking. Both areas share the same latitude, and the grapes used in Willamette Valley Pinot Noir are hardy and robust for this colder region. The wine itself is flavorful, but also delicate, which sets it apart from most red wines.
You’ve probably heard the ‘rule’ that you should only drink white wine with fish. What to do if you’re not a fan of white wines? Well, there are a few reds that will pair well with sushi and seafood dishes.
The reason the ‘rule’ (which is more of a guideline) states that fish only pairs well with white wine is because fish has a lighter taste. Typically, foods that are lighter do better with white wine, since white wines are more delicate and less robust than reds. So if you’re a lover of red wines, you’ll need to choose one that is has a more delicate flavoring so it won’t compete with or overwhelm the fish but complements your dinner instead.
A Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley in Oregon is the perfect accompaniment to a sushi dish for a red wine lover. Willamette Pinots have a well-deserved reputation for being light, fruity, and very easy to drink.
If you can’t find a Willamette Pinot on the wine list at your favorite restaurant, try a Gamay from Beaujolais, France. This red wine is also fruity and light and pairs really well with a delicate fish like yellowtail. So don’t despair, red wine lovers!

3. Gruner Veltliner

A white wine from a high altitude, cold climate goes well with sushi, and Gruner Veltliner wines from Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia fit the bill here. These wines have subtle fruit and mineral notes and are a distinct, one-of-a-kind wine. If you’re a lover of white wines, you can’t go wrong with a glass of Gruner Veltliner.
The primary fruit flavors in Gruner Veltliner wine are lime, lemon, and grapefruit. Some tasters describe a green, herbaceous flavor often described as white pepper. And the signature vein of acidity in this unique wine gives it that final, mineral flavor. The Gruner Veltliner wine profile will enhance the taste of sushi.

4. Provencal Rose

Thinking about ordering tasty, and healthy salmon rolls? Then a glass of dry rose certainly won’t disappoint your palate. When scanning the wine menu at your favorite Japanese restaurant, keep a look out for a rose wine hailing from Provence, France.
Provence, France, is famous as being the birthplace of the French vineyard, dating all the way back to 300 B.C. Historical records indicate that the Ancient Greek traders brought wine grapes and winemaking traditions to the area when they founded the city of Marseille. In the middle ages, Provence wine making exploded. It’s carried on the tradition ever since.
Like the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, a Provencal Rose wine is a reliable choice for sushi and seafood dishes. The types of wines tend to be very dry, and brightly acidic. Plus, Provence, France borders the Mediterranean Sea, and the region’s traditional fare is heavy with seafood-based dishes. So, you know this type of wine is explicitly designed for pairing well with fish.

5. Champagne

Champagne isn’t just for celebrating. This wide-spread favorite goes down well and pairs great with a variety of dishes, including sushi. We can thank the ancient Romans for this world-famous beverage. The Champagne region of France was cultivated in at least the 5th century, but some historical records indicate even earlier times. The famous Champagne wine started out as a pale pink and still beverage, until evolving into the sparkling wine so well-loved today.
Real champagne has a reputation for being a bit on the pricey side, though. If you aren’t celebrating a special occasion and don’t want to spring for a real bottle of bubbly, a dry prosecco is an excellent alternative. Dry proseccos and real champagnes will enhance any seafood dish.

The Best Wine with Sushi: Our Picks

What’s our bottom line for the best wines to go with your sushi?
Well, it’s any drink that you like!
While these wines are our favorite picks, they are so many different wines you can choose from and enjoy. Please use this as more like a guideline regarding how dry or delicate a glass of wine needs to be to enhance the flavors of lighter fare like fish and seafood.
Trying new wines is always a fun experience, and you don’t need to feel embarrassed when you go to order whatever glass you want even if it’s, traditionally speaking, not something that would typically pair with sushi. If someone told you it’s not the ‘right pairing,’ it doesn’t matter what the haters say. If you choose something you enjoy, you’ll always have an excellent dining experience at your favorite sushi restaurant.
Now that you’ve got a good baseline for what kinds of wines pair well with sushi are you in the mood to try something new today? Then give us a call and make your reservation at our award-winning sushi restaurants today. We’ve got an extensive, high-quality wine list that will be sure to enhance any of your favorite sushi dishes and give you the dining experience you want and deserve.