Pacific Rim
September 22, 2022 | wine | Pacific Rim

Wine and Sushi? An Unexpectedly Delicious Combo

Have you ever had wine with sushi? If there is one food that reflects good health and wellness, it has to be sushi. Not only is sushi very appealing to look at, but it comes with many types of ingredients, sauces, and dips. Sushi and wine pair nicely together, although you may not immediately think of it.  

Essentially, sushi will feature medium-grain rice cooked in vinegar and served with either cooked or raw seafood. This is usually complemented with a range of fillings or toppings. One of the best things about sushi is that you do not even have to like raw fish or seafood. You can eat sushi with avocado or any type of favorite veggie. For the most part, sushi uses fresh ingredients and can be either vegetarian or non-vegetarian. There are six key types of sushi

  • Sashimi
  • Nigiri
  • Chirashi
  • Maki
  • Uramaki
  • Temaki

Each has many subcategories, making sushi one of the most popular food choices for people of all ages. To make sushi taste even better, try pairing wine with sushi. Experimentation often brings new and rich flavorings to enjoy. Sushi and wine can definitely work well together. Since there are many types of sushi, there is no one type of wine that will necessarily complement all. The pairing of wine and sushi will depend on the flavor and type of ingredients in the food.


In general, you want a white wine with moderate acidity as it will pair with a broad range of fish used in sushi. These wines include Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, and Chenin Blanc.

Extremely acidic wines may not always pair well with all sushi because the high tannins and fruit may totally obliterate the flavor and aroma of the seafood. As well, the very high alcohol level can exaggerate the heat of the wasabi, making it uncomfortable to eat more.

If the fish is light, you need a crisp wine, like a Riesling or Gewürztraminer.

If you want to pair the heat of wasabi, then Riesling with residual sugar is what you want; the sugar can calm down the heat and intensify the flavors of the sushi.

If you prefer to consume red wines with your sushi, then go with the lighter or blended reds with mild tannins. If the wine contains too much tannin, it will make the fish taste metallic. In such cases, go with wines from the cooler climates in the U.S., like those grown in the soils of Washington state.

If the sushi is light, then the wine should also be light-bodied.

If the sushi has fatty fish, like salmon, you need wine high in acidity that will cut through the fat and access the protein. Great wines that pair well with fatty fish include Riesling, Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner, and Pinot Noir, just to name a few.

If the seafood is mild or sweet but the fish is deep-fried, then go with a flavorful white wine with moderate acidity to match the sauce, such as Riesling.

If you love avocado sushi, then select a light rose as it will enhance the flavors of the wasabi.

If you do not like too much wasabi and want to minimize the heat, select a wine with residual sugar as it will quell the burning of wasabi (think Pinot Noir or Grüner Veltliner)

And, yes, you can select either red or white wine pairings with sushi.


While the general rule is that white wine should be paired with fish, this is not absolute. A glass of red wine can also make a great pairing. The key is to select a light-bodied red with mild tannins, like Pinot Noir, for a pairing of wine with sushi.

Try experimenting with a few wines at a time to sample sushi and wine. If you can choose only one, the best advice is to go with Riesling. This is a very versatile wine that pairs well with many types of food, including fresh seafood. With its delicate fruity flavor and acidity, it will melt most sushi in your mouth.

For more information about wine with sushi pairings and to learn about the exquisite wines Pacific Rim and Company offers, visit online or call 1-503-863-5454.


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