14 Best Wine Pairings For Your Favorite Japanese Sushi Dish

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Best Wine and Sushi Pairings

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Have you ever thought about what wine to pair with sushi? It can be tough to decide because there are so many different types of sushi and wine.

In this post, we will discuss 14 of the best wines for sushi. We'll give you a little background on each wine and explain why it pairs well with Japanese cuisine. So, whether you're a wine lover or a sushi dish fanatic, read on for the best wine pairing for your next meal!

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Our Top Picks

Prosecco
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Best Overall - Prosecco

The pairing gives a blast of savory and fruity flavor
Cleanses the palate
Gentle tannins

Riesling
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Best for Spicy Sushi - Riesling

Crisp and fresh
Sweet
Balances heat from chili flavored sushi

Gruner Veltliner
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Best Minerality - Gruner Veltliner

Most well-known white wine of Austria
Known for its exploding minerality
Effectively washes away complex flavors of seafood or sushi

1. Prosecco - Best Overall

Prosecco

Prosecco is a softly fragrant sparkling white wine with delicate floral and citrus aromas, just enough to enhance rather than overshadow the tastes of the food. The subtle tangy overtones significantly match the broad range of seafood, including octopus, fishes, shellfish, and eels.

This best wine has the benefit of possessing somewhat less fizz than other sparkling wines, resulting in reducing texture and mouthfeel contrast when paired with delicate components.

A citrus palate found in Prosecco is a wonderful choice for washing a scallop roll's sweet and spicy flavor. When partnered with a sushi dish, the Prosecco is vibrant on the tongue and conveys its flavors well. This coupling allowed for an explosion of savory and fruit flavors on the palate.

2. Rosé

Rosé

Rosé, whether sparkling or still, pairs well with shellfish. Sushi offers a wide range of flavors and textures, so a well-balanced rosé should be able to stand up to it. When it comes to sushi, choose a dry rosé that won't crumble beneath the weight of strong tastes but won't overshadow the lighter fish with sweetness and fruity flavor. 

You may also look for a rosé wine from the Provence region of France. Provence, France, is known for its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, and the region's traditional cuisine is rich in seafood. A Provencal Rosé wine, like Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, is a good match for sushi and fish meals.

3. Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

A sushi plate is even more sufficient with deliciously fried tempura. If you want to savor your tempura without dominating the flavor, go for a light-bodied wine like Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc complements the fresh aromas of sushi well and enhances the enjoyment of every single bite. 

Moreover, the wine's bright acidity neutralizes the saltiness of soy sauce. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is also suggested since wine often has vibrant citrus fruits and grassy characteristics. The wine's strong acidity acts similarly to the ginger with sushi.

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4. Riesling - Best for Spicy Sushi

Riesling

Riesling is a dry white wine that originated in Germany because they are manufactured from a particular grape that can only be found in certain parts of the country. 

Rieslings were once thought to be a dessert wine meant to be consumed after a meal. Riesling wines are known for their crispness and freshness.

This best wine ranges in sweetness from sweet to moderately sweet to dry. Some tuna and sushi rolls have a fiery chili flavor. To balance off the intense heat of these rolls, choose a wine with a sweet taste. According to spicy food enthusiasts, a dry Riesling is an excellent complement to spicy foods.

5. Albariño

Albariño

Albariño hails from Galicia's shore, in the Rias Baixas area of northern Spain, which explains why seafood dishes are ideal for this wine. The Albarino has a salty flavor that goes well with the fish in the sushi as well as seaweeds.

A delightful Albariño's gentle lemon, green pea, and lime notes provide just the right amount of acidity to complement any prawn tempura. If you're eating deep-fried panko, Albariño delivers a great flavor balance.

6. Champagne

Champagne

Although it's unusual for a sushi restaurant to offer Champagne on its wine list, the combination of bubbly beverage with raw fish is particularly intriguing. When it comes to Champagne and sushi, there are two options.

First is Extra Brut or Nature Champagnes. These Champagne have low sugar levels, make use of the Champagne's minerality, and allow the raw fish's salty smells and texture to shine through. The second option is to match distinctive rosé Champagnes that naturally pair well with fish dishes

Additionally, the fruity characteristics of rosé champagne would make a superb buffer for condiments and complement the raw fish's melting texture.

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7. Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Two of the most widely known Pinot Noir winemaking hubs are Willamette Valley in Oregon and Burgundy in France. A Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley is the ideal match for red wine lovers for sushi. One from the Willamette Valley is well-renowned for being approachable, fruity, and light.

On the other hand, Burgundy Pinot Noir can stand up to the robust flavors of sushi. Its minerality and tanginess complement sushi with fatty fish like tuna or salmon. So, it does not dominate the delicate tastes of white fish. Generally, the full-bodied wine with earthy notes will enhance the taste of the oilier fish.

8. Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio

The Italian variety Pinot Grigio wines are light-bodied, crisp, and fresh, with vivid dried fruits and blossom fragrances, as well as a hint of spice. If you're serving light, lean fish slices like sashimi, nigiri, or maki, the leaner and delicate characteristics of white wine like Pinot Grigio is a good choice.

9. Vinho Verde

Vinho Verde

Vinho Verde means "young wine" in Portuguese. Vinho Verde is a wine that can be white, red, rosé, and anything in between. However, with a sushi meal, it is better to opt for the white variant of Vinho Verde.

Due to the natural fermentation that Vinho Verde undergoes once bottled, early-stage brewing complements sushi. This bottle conditioning adds a hint of carbonation and a delightful effervescence to the beverage. It enriches the sushi, omakase, or sashimi dining experience.

10. Chardonnay - Best for White Fish

Chardonnay

The refinement of raw fish will complement the complexity of scents in the white wine. Choose a vibrant Chardonnay with woody flavors for sushi, sashimi, or other makis containing white fish. Logically, fatty fish should pair well with lighter, drier whites with lemony, sharp acidity. 

On the other hand, smoother, higher fat, glycerol-textured Chardonnays are better for broadening and enriching the flavor of fatty tuna. The tender, slightly meaty albacore, also known as white tuna, prefers a modestly scaled, soft dry white.

Chardonnay is an excellent match for this sushi. Remember not to oversweeten it.

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11. Gruner Veltliner - Best Minerality

Gruner Veltliner

Austria's most well-known white wine is Grüner Veltliner. Grüner Veltliner is Austria's most widely planted and renowned white grape, and it may be produced in several styles, from ultra-light and clean to deep, rich, and thick. Regardless of type, the wines are pure and lively, with an exploding signature of minerality.

The sharpness of the wine will help to effectively rinse the depth of flavor of crab in California rolls. The seaweed and sesame add a lovely touch of minerality, while the vinegared rice helps to heighten the wine's intense acidity. Gruner Veltliner can also cut through the richness of a grilled eel and eel sauce.

12. Sparkling Wine - Best for Umami

Sparkling Wine

Due to the noticeable acidity and cleaning effect of carbon dioxide, sparkling wines can be a viable alternative for matching wine with sushi, effective in balancing the savory umami element and the fiery heat of sauces. To properly appreciate the nuances of the food and the drink, select sparkling wine that isn't overly sugary. 

A blanc de blanc sparkling wine is a guaranteed bet, especially when paired with shellfish and seafood sushi. Deep-fried sushi components like mushrooms, tofu, and tempura are particularly ideal with sparkling wine due to its effervescence and the fizz’s ability to reduce the greasiness from frying.

13. Manzanilla Sherry

Manzanilla Sherry

Manzanilla is light, crisp, and dry. While it's an excellent aperitif, it's also the king of food and wine pairings because of its diverse fragrance profile. The wine's savory umami flavor embraces even the most forceful fishy delicacies like eel or unagi and sea urchin.

Due to its fondness for seafood, manzanilla pairs well with various dishes. That's especially true when it comes to sushi, where any wine pairing must not only complement the fish's flawless freshness but also stand up to the intensely flavorful condiments and other elements like wasabi, peppery radish, and others.

14. Chablis

Chablis

Chablis white wines are straightforward and fish white wines cultivated in the rich soil of Burgundy, France. Chablis is one of Japan's most famous wines because it pairs well with sushi. 

This might be because the vineyards have initially been seabed and are rich in fossilized marine organisms like oysters. The wine’s significant mineral concentration is evident in its taste too.

Conclusion

We've given you 14 of the best wines for sushi in this blog post. We hope that our recommendations will make your next meal more delicious and enjoyable!

If you enjoyed reading about these wine pairings, be sure to share with a friend or two who also loves Japanese cuisine. Or, if you're looking for some other great content on wines and liquors, check out our blog homepage.

Do you have any questions about what type of wine would go well with certain dishes? Let us know in the comments below!

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