Sushi and Wine

I went to a party a couple weeks ago. It wasn’t a sit down party or anything, so guests were free to grab whatever they pleased from the spread. There was sushi. And I was drinking a red Okanagan blend. So was the bf. He said, hmm, the wine doesn’t go very well with sushi. I agreed. The red wine was fine with the Jamaican patty, pizza and pretty much everything else on the table but the sushi.

wine pairing easy

From LocalWineEvents.com’s Facebook page.

So, here goes my first post on food and wine pairing. I had sushi for dinner two nights ago, a spur of the moment thing and since it seems like we have 50 bottles right now, I figure I’ll pull out a white. Turns out we only had two whites. I wasn’t sure which to have: The Pouilly-Fuisse or the Viognier from Washington state?

new world vs old world

Viognier from Washington state or Pouilly-Fuisse?

With sushi, there’s so much in the mix to consider: the sushi type, wasabi, ginger, soy sauce, seaweed, and the vinegar on the rice. I had salmon avocado roll, tuna roll, dynamite roll and yam tempura roll.

What I decided to go with…

I went with the Viognier. Fruity and aromatic. I seemed safe. The Pouilly-Fuisse, a Chardonnay, I expected to have more umph in the mouth to because of the oak and thought that would drown the delicacy of the raw salmon and tuna.

The conclusion…

The Viognier wasn’t great, with the raw fish. It was just okay with the dynamite and yam rolls and was tasty on it own, but when paired with the fish, there was a flabbiness to it. Ok, it was a horrible pairing. I honestly didn’t know what flabby wine was like until I had those two together. So I stopped drinking the wine with the sushi, finished the sushi, then drank the wine on its own. I was able to enjoy them both, separately. I don’t know if the Pouilly-Fuisse would’ve been that much better.

What could’ve worked…

What would’ve gone well with the raw fish? Well, I had Sekt before and that was good. Champagne (or alternatively Cava or Cremant) are known to complement sushi well. The reason is the high acidity cuts through the fish oils and also has high enough acidity so that the acidity from the vinegar doesn’t overpower the wine. That’s what the Viognier was lacking to make this a good pairing: the acidity level. I’m learning. Hope you are too.

Spanish sparkling wine

Given that I had Sekt and sushi together and enjoyed it, I think Cava would’ve paired nicely too.

Do a Google search for what goes well with sushi and you’ll have different suggestions. Try them all and see what works well for you. That’s what I plan on doing! And I’ll share my findings with you, good and bad. Apparently Red Burgundy (Pinot Noir from the east-central part of France), I quickly caught a glimpse somewhere on the internet during my quick research, goes well. As does Beaujoulais. I’ll definitely try one day. I would love to know, aside from sake which wines have you tried with sushi (with raw fish) that worked out well? 

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