What Wine Pairings with Sushi?

Sushi has become one of the most loved Japanese foods all over the world. Finding a place where this delicious meal isn’t served is hard. To complement a very loved food, a bottle of wine would be part of the list of the top drinks to pair with it. And so, what wine pairings with sushi?

Sushi and Wine Combination

Sushi and wine are a pair you can call conventional because they taste good individually, but are even better when paired together. Not only has the popularity of sushi skyrocketed in recent years, but so has that of wine.

Their popularity makes them a pretty easy pair to come through. However, it’s not always a foolproof pairing– of course, there are great ones, but there are also pairings that shouldn’t be paired in the first place.

Sushi, along with wine, is not a one-flavor food; sushi has many types and variations, and so is wine. Food can be improved, especially when paired with suitable complimentary beverages.

Of course, because they are made of several ingredients, there is variety in the palate that can either be complemented or just bland and bad. And so, it’s essential to get to know the intricacies of flavors before pairing these two.

While many people prefer different drinks when eating sushi, many prefer wines! So, if you are part of the wine-loving association, you would want to know which pairings work best. Whatever you plan to eat, making the correct wine selection can elevate your meal.

White or Red?


In the question of white or red, the answer might be pretty obvious. While each person has their preferences when it comes to wines, it still pays to find a good wine pairing when eating sushi.

In pairing with sushi, white wine is your best bet. White wine allows the delicate flavors of sushi to shine and provides a nice boost of flavor to the raw fish.

Eating is an experience, and it’s not just stuffing things inside your mouth for the sake of it. The flavors in a particular dish can be elevated, emphasized, and on the other hand, diminish with whatever you decide to pair with it.

Sushi and Wine Pairings

Sushi/s Wine/s
California Maki ● Chardonnay

● Rose Wine

Philadelphia roll ● Pinot Noir

● Viognier

Spicy tuna roll & Tuna tataki ● Off-dry Riesling

● Pinot Noir

Rainbow roll ● Chilean Sauvignon Blanc

● Prosecco

Hotate Sashimi ● Albariño

● Pinot Grigio

California Maki + Chardonnay or Rose Wine


California maki should be one of the most well-known sushi rolls in the world. It offers a variety of flavor notes, some rich and some minor tones. This type of sushi is known for being tangy, savory, creamy, sweet, crunchy, and sweet.

A good Chardonnay bottle cuts through the rich flavors beautifully. The fruity wine increases the brightness of the flavors from the roll.

In the same way, Rose wine emphasizes the roll’s flavor. The acidity and dryness of a rose cut through all the vibrant colors and flavors in California Maki.

Philadelphia Roll + Pinot Noir or Viognier

Philadelphia roll is likely to be more fatty and hearty. It’s also one of the few sushis that pair well with red wines like Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir complements salmon and cream cheese’s salty, sweet, buttery, and tangy flavors.

The aromatic components of Viognier are very appealing, with their fragrant, floral aromas. It’s full-bodied and peppery, with fruity undertones of apricot that balance well with the salmon’s fattiness and creaminess.

Spicy tuna roll & Tuna tataki + Off-dry Riesling or Pinot Noir


Eating spicy tuna sushi calls for a sweet wine. This is why Off-dry Riesling is a great way to calm your taste buds and enjoy the meal. These types of sushi are delicate and bursting with freshness in every bite. Therefore, the off-dry Riesling’s classic fruitiness is a perfect match.

Pinot Noir is the best red wine to choose from for tuna sushi. It has low alcohol content and soft tannins. Its rich flavors complement the sushi without overpowering them.

Rainbow roll + Chilean Sauvignon Blanc or Prosecco

Chilean Sauvignon Blanc is crisp, light, and refreshing, with well-balanced acidity. A balanced quantity of sharpness is a wonderful way to refresh your taste buds after a bite of rainbow roll.

A wine with a light-bodied, lively, and very fragrant profile, Prosecco is also a popular choice for sushi. It’s bubbly and acidic, adding brightness to the entire meal.

Hotate Sashimi + Albariño or Pinot Grigio


Albario’s tangy fruit overtones and salt perfectly cut through Hotate’s thick, smooth, and creamy flavor. It has a tingling aftertaste, frequently having a light, bitter undertone.

On the other hand, Pinot Grigio has white peach and a touch of pear in its flavor profile. Hotate sashimi pairs wonderfully with the mild citrus notes in Pinot Grigio. Creamy bites go well with zesty endings.

More Sushi and Wine Pairings

Sushi Wine
Tuna sashimi ● Chardonnay

● Pinot Grigio

Eel ● Gruner Veltliner
Nigiri ● Albariño

● Pinot Grigio

Temaki ● Sauvignon Blanc
Tempura ● Gruner Veltliner

Tuna Sashimi + Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio

When served with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay, the firmness, delicacy, mildness, and buttery flavor of tuna sashimi make for a fantastic pairing. Chardonnay’s lemon notes also complement the buttery bites of tuna sashimi.

Like Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio is also a good pairing with tuna sashimi. Fruity accents like lemon, lime, and pear provide a sharp contrast to the mild and silky tuna.

Eel + Gruner Veltliner

Gruner Veltliner wine typically has citrus notes that add brightness to the eel. Since the eel is slightly sweet, the acidity of this wine is an excellent contrast to it.

Nigiri + Albariño or Pinot Grigio

Albarino’s light and refreshing flavor perfectly complements the delicate flavors of sushi. The acidic, sticky, and silky taste of nigiri is well-balanced by Albarino.

On the other hand, Pinot Grigio is an addition of bright flavors to the silky and sticky nigiri.

Temaki + Sauvignon Blanc

Temaki is often reasonably simple and hearty, with flavors close to home. They are lived by many with their sour and salty flavor. Temaki’s understated tastes perfectly complement the zesty and flowery flavors in a Sauvignon Blanc.

Tempura + Gruner Veltliner

Tempura is one of the most famous Japanese dishes all over the world. It has creative interpretations, but almost all of them, of course, include frying. And so, an excellent cut to the slight oil in these bites is a refreshing Gruner Veltliner.

Sushi With Rose and Sparkling Wines


Rose wine and Sushi

Provence is known for its dry, acidic rosé wine. Rose wines are an excellent match for sushi thanks to their citrusy, fruity, and floral notes. It goes wonderfully with seafood like crab, tuna, and salmon.

The acidity from the fruit cuts through the richness of the seafood. Rose wine is a wonderful complement to vegetarian sushi. It has a mild flavor and goes particularly well with creamy ingredients like avocado.

Sparkling wine and sushi

The combination of sushi with sparkling wine is one of the simplest but also foolproof combinations possible. A sparkling wine’s effervescence, wonderful tongue, and palate cleanser are some of its most distinguishing features.

From the name itself, sparkling wine gives sparkle every time you take a sip. Who would not want that refreshing fizz to wash away a light, but complexly flavorful meal like sushi?

This type of wine is also very compatible with raw fish. The way the fizz nicely wraps around the inside of your mouth along with your tongue as you take a bite or after taking on smooth and raw seafood is something you must try.

Pairing Tips


Know the fillings of the sushi

If there’s one thing about sushi, it always has vinegared rice. The rest of the ingredients are also vital in finding the best wine to pair with it. Some sushi has a nice and refreshing crunch brought about by fresh vegetables like carrots, cucumber, and many more.

In this case, you may add brightness or something sweet with a bitter finish. Some sushi has smoother ingredients like avocado, shrimp, tuna, etc. In these cases, it’s good to pair it with something that could cut through these textures beautifully, like wines with zesty, lemony, or tangy notes.

Take note of the fish or meat in the sushi

While wines are compatible with most types of meat, it’s good to distinguish the meat’s quality so you can make a better choice. Is the meat smooth? Does it smell? Is it on the sweeter side, or is it salty? Ask questions like that.

Take note of a specific note you want in a wine

Of course, when choosing a wine, it’s essential to consider your preference. Aside from objective compatibility, subjective taste is good in determining what wine you should go with. Do you want sweet wine? How sweet is enough for you? Or perhaps you want some fizz after cleansing the palate?


Of course, it would be great to know the basics of wine pairing before anything else. This way, you also know the objective side of the puzzle of finding the best sushi and wine pairing.


When eating sushi, choosing a good drink is always good to cleanse the palate and wash away the hearty meal.

Especially if you are a wine person, knowing what wine pairings with sushi are great options would be helpful. Eating a good meal with a good wine pairing is an experience you won’t want to miss.

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