How to pair wine with sushi

Published March 4th, 2022

Sushi is the best known and most appreciated traditional Japanese food in the world and, despite its apparent simplicity, there are many more or less complex varieties to prepare, from the best known Nigiri and Uramaki, to the less famous Chirashi and Futomaki.

The result is an enormous variety of tastes and textures depending on the type of fish and seaweed used, the style of cutting or cooking, and the seasoning sauces.

And if the Japanese tradition wants sushi to be paired with Sake, more and more people have recently gone in search of the best sushi wine pairing.

There is actually no single answer to this question. Typically, sushi dishes have a sweet tendency, with good fatness and a peculiar aroma. They include just a few ingredients and often involve no cooking, which preserves the original aroma of the fish and rice.

Bubbles are often an excellent choice, as their delicate flavors and lively acidity are the best match with fish, but different fish can find different sushi and wine pairings.

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Prosecco is often considered only a light aperitif, but during a sushi-based dinner, it may be a strategic option.

Not only the marked acidity and a savory note of sparkling wines are a great match for the delicate fattiness and sweet tendency of crustaceans, but the aromatic nerve of Prosecco is perfect with scallops and shrimps and if it has a little residual sweetness, like the Dry version, it is also the best partner for any spicy rolls and various hot sauces.

Our suggestion: Undici Prosecco Superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG Rive di Collalto Dry, Col Sandago


Chablis is a popular French white wine, produced in Burgundy, around the town of Yonne, often defined as "the Chardonnay that comes from the cold" due to the rather harsh climate of the area. The wine is widely appreciated for its fresh steely style, the flowery and mineral notes, and its marked acidity. These characteristics make it the best wine for sushi made with white fish. Its lean structure is perfect for the delicate flavors of the raw fish, while its minerality is a great counterpart for soy sauce.

Our suggestion: Chablis AOC, Domaine d’Elise

Provençal Rosé

As a general rule, rosé wine pairs very well with sushi as it offers the best of the characteristics of red and white wines. Rosé wines from Provence in particular offer all the freshness of the Mediterranean perfumes and are both dry and acidic, fragrant and delicately savory. This is exactly what you need for the sweetness and richness of those delicious rolls filled with crab or avocado.

Our suggestion: Bandol AOC Rosé Château Romassan Coeur de Grain, Domaines Ott

Bandol Blanc or Nebbiolo

Despite what many believe, sushi isn't always made with raw fish. Some Nigiri and Uramaki, for example, are prepared with seared tuna or salmon, and that can change things. By searing it, the fish becomes sweeter, and its flesh acquires faint charred aromas.

Therefore this type of preparation requires wines with a more generous mouthfeel. If you decide to go for a white, the best choice would be a Bandol Blanc with its extraordinary aromatic complexity and its fresh minerality.

Our suggestion: Bandol Blanc Tradition, Domaine de Suffrène

But this type of recipe may also call for red wine, such as a young Nebbiolo, which has the body to counterbalance the richness of the fish flesh and soft tannins to cleanse the palate.

Our suggestion: Langhe Nebbiolo DOC ‘Il Principe’,  Michele Chiarlo


One of the most difficult combinations between wine and sushi concerns eel. That's because, eel is extremely rich and is often grilled in sushi preparations, so it takes on smoky and lightly caramelized notes. The best solution is found in the fresh and explosive scents of a Gewurztraminer, which has the roundness to cut the texture of the eel and the aromatic backbone to balance the smoky notes.

Our suggestion: Gewurztraminer Alto Adige DOC 'Joseph' Hofstatter

Things to look out for

As you can see, choosing what wine goes with sushi is not an easy task. There are many things to consider and some details that we shouldn't overlook.

  • It's not just about the fish, it's also about the sauces. And be careful not to choose wines that are too alcoholic because they could clash especially with Wasabi.

  • Strong tannins can give the fish a metallic flavor and can be too astringent for the delicate flesh of the fish.

  • Don't forget that sushi has a subtle taste, and overly fruity wines may override it.

  • Last but not least, as much as we all love soy sauce and wasabi, be aware that their intense flavors can overwhelm both wine and fish.

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