The Art of Pairing Wine With Sushi: Tips From the Expert - Wine by hearts
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The Art of Pairing Wine With Sushi: Tips From the Expert

Are you a sushi lover? Do you enjoy sipping on wine while indulging in your favorite Japanese delicacies? The perfect pairing of wine and sushi can take your dining experience to the next level. But with so many varieties of both, it can be overwhelming to find the right match.

Fear not! In this blog post, we’ll explore how to pair wine with sushi like a pro, so get ready to impress your taste buds and guests at your next sushi dinner party.

How to pair wine with sushi?

A Woman Eating Shushi Using Chopsticks

Wine pairings refer to the practice of matching different types of wine with different foods to enhance the flavor and experience of both.

When it comes to pairing wine with sushi, there are a few things you need to take into account. The first is the type of sushi. If you’re having nigiri, which is sushi that consists of a slice of fish on top of rice, then you’ll want to pick a white wine that has good acidity.

This will help balance out the richness of the fish. For maki rolls, which are rolls of sushi that contain fillings like vegetables or seafood, you can go with either a white or red wine.

If you’re having tempura rolls, which are fried sushi rolls, then you should pair them with a sparkling wine or beer. Wine and sushi can be a great pairing, but it’s important to choose the right wine to complement the flavors of the sushi.

Sushi has delicate flavors, so it’s best to choose a wine that won’t overpower the dish. Here are some more detailed guidelines to follow when pairing wine with sushi:

Go for white wine.

Generally, white wine pairs better with sushi than red wine because of its lighter body and acidity. Look for a white wine with a clean and crisp taste, such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling.

Choose a dry wine.

Dry wines with no residual sugar are a good match for sushi. They complement the subtle flavors of the fish and help balance the salty soy sauce. Avoid sweet or fruity wines, which can overpower the delicate flavors of the sushi.

Consider the type of sushi.

sushi with, wine

Different types of sushi pair better with different wines. For example, a delicate white fish like snapper or flounder goes well with a light-bodied Pinot Grigio, while a rich and fatty fish like salmon or tuna pairs well with a fuller-bodied Chardonnay.

Try sparkling wine.

Champagne or other sparkling wines can also be a good pairing with sushi. The bubbles help cleanse the palate between bites, and the acidity pairs well with the soy sauce.

Pair with lighter-bodied wines.

Sushi has delicate flavors, so it’s best to pair it with lighter-bodied wines that won’t overpower the dish. Avoid heavy or tannic wines, as they can clash with the subtle flavors of the sushi. Instead, opt for lighter whites or sparkling wines.

Think about the texture of the fish.

Different types of fish have different textures, which can affect the pairing. For example, a light-bodied white wine like Pinot Grigio pairs well with a delicate white fish like flounder or snapper.

But a richer and fattier fish like salmon or tuna may require a fuller-bodied wine like Chardonnay.

Consider the soy sauce.

Soy sauce is often served with sushi, and its salty flavor can affect the wine pairing. Look for a wine with good acidity and minerality, as this will help cut through the saltiness of the soy sauce.

Dry sparkling wines can also be a good option, as the bubbles help cleanse the palate between bites.

Don’t be afraid to try different wines.

Wine Glass With Red Liquid on Black Table

Wine pairing is a matter of personal taste, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different wines and see what you like best.

Some people prefer a crisp and refreshing wine like Sauvignon Blanc, while others may prefer a richer and more full-bodied wine like Chardonnay.

As for specific wines to pair with sushi, some good options include Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio for white wines; and Beaujolais Nouveau, Pinot Noir, and Merlot for red wines.

Overall, the best wine pairing with sushi is one that complements the delicate flavors of the fish and rice, while also providing a refreshing and enjoyable drinking experience.

Top 10 wine types that pair best with Sushi.

Unrecognizable Man Pouring Wine on Wine Glass

From our personal preferences, some of the best wines to pair with sushi are:

1. Sparkling Wine.

The lightness and acidity of sparkling wine make it a great pairing for sushi. It can help to cut through the richness of the fish and rice and refresh your palate in between bites.

2. Riesling.

Riesling is another wine that has good acidity levels, making it a good choice for sushi. It also has fruity flavors that can complement the sweetness of sushi rice.

3. Sauvignon Blanc.

This wine is known for its grassy, herbaceous flavors which can work well with the more delicate flavors of sushi. It can also help to accentuate the sweetness of the sushi rice.

4. Pinot Noir.

Pinot noir is a red wine that has a relatively light body and soft tannins. Its fruitiness can pair nicely with richer types of sushi, such as those made with eel or salmon roe.

5. Sake.

Sake is a Japanese rice wine that is often served with sushi. It has a clean, crisp flavor that pairs well with the other components of sushi rolls.

6. Rosé.

A dry Rosé with its fruitiness and acidity pairs well with sushi and is perfect for a summer day.

7. Grüner Veltliner.

This Austrian wine is known for its high acidity and notes of citrus and white pepper, which make it a great match for sushi with wasabi and soy sauce.

8. Chablis.

A crisp and mineral-driven Chablis from France pairs well with sushi, particularly with white fish and shellfish.

9. Vermentino.

This Italian white wine has a light and refreshing quality that pairs well with sushi and can complement the flavors of raw fish.

10. Albariño.

A Spanish Albariño with its citrus and peach flavors pairs well with sushi and can complement the sweetness of shrimp or crab rolls.

Flavor Profile.

Sushi on Board and Wine Glass on Table

There are many different types of sushi, and each one has its own unique flavor. The same can be said of wine. So, how do you know which wine to pair with which sushi?

Well, the first step is to understand the flavors of both wine and sushi. Once you know what you’re working with, it’ll be easier to make a decision.

Wine is often described using terms like “fruity”, “dry”, “bold”, or “light”. These terms refer to the taste, smell, and overall feel of the wine. Sushi, on the other hand, can be described in terms of its fishiness, riceyness, sweetness, or saltiness.

Once you have a good understanding of the flavors of both wine and sushi, it’s time to start pairing them together.

A good rule of thumb is to match light wines with light sushi, and bold wines with bold sushi. This way, the flavors won’t compete with each other and you’ll be able to enjoy both thewine and the sushi equally.

Some specific pairings to try include:

– Pinot grigio with tuna sashimi
– Sauvignon blanc with salmon nigiri
– Chardonnay with yellowtail roll
– Merlot with California roll
– Shiraz with spider roll

Dos and don’ts of wine pairing with sushi.

variety of cooked foods

Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when pairing wine with sushi:


Do choose a white wine with good acidity and minerality. Look for a clean, crisp wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Riesling.
Do consider the type of fish you’re eating. Different types of fish pair better with different wines, so experiment to find the perfect pairing.
Do try sparkling wine or Champagne. The bubbles can help cleanse the palate between bites and pair well with the soy sauce.
Do experiment and find the pairing that works best for you.
Do keep the wine cool. Sake is traditionally served at room temperature, but wine should be served chilled.


Don’t choose red wine. Red wine can overpower the delicate flavors of sushi and is generally not a good match.
Don’t choose a sweet or fruity wine. These wines can be too overpowering for sushi and don’t complement the flavors well.
Don’t choose a heavy or oaky wine. These wines can mask the subtle flavors of the fish and rice.
Don’t pair wine with heavily sauced or spicy sushi rolls. These flavors can be difficult to pair with wine.
Don’t serve wine that is too warm. Keep the wine chilled to ensure that it complements the sushi flavors properly.


Wine and sushi make for a delicious pairing, but it takes some thought to get the most out of your choice of wines. With these tips in mind, you should be able to make an informed decision when selecting a wine that will complement your sushi.

Don’t forget to take into account the type of fish used as well as any other ingredients present in order to make sure that you pick the perfect bottle for your meal.