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Wine and sushi pairing guide

Pairings and Taste Tags

Your guide to the best wine and sushi pairings

This much-adored Japanese specialty deserves a wine that will bring out the flavours of each delectable roll.

Published on June 15, 2023

When it comes to choosing the right wine to have with sushi, it’s important to consider each ingredient in the dish. The fine subtlety of the rice and raw fish is usually seasoned with sophisticated notes of marinated ginger, soy sauce and wasabi. These contrasting flavours are enough to delight wine lovers looking for the perfect pairing. There are many superb options for making this Japanese delicacy sing.

Here’s a handy guide to help you out. 

Sparkling wine

The effervescence of sparkling wine whets the appetite, while its acidity balances out the richness of fatty fish. There’s no doubt about it—bubbles and sushi are a match made in heaven! Look for champagne where Chardonnay grapes are prominent, a Crémant de Loire made with Chenin Blanc grapes, or cava, everyone’s favourite Spanish sparkling wine. Any of these are sure to make your sushi night pop! 

Champagne Brimoncourt Brute Moustache

This Chardonnay-forward blend is from a special vintage developed in collaboration with Chef Charles-Antoine Crète from Montréal Plaza. You’ll be charmed by its fruity, floral and slightly buttery aroma—not to mention its incredible value for money! The delicate and creamy bubbles are bolstered by the wine’s structure and touch of bitterness, which makes for a pleasantly complex experience. This festive champagne will taste wonderful alongside sushi and its accompaniments.

Sumarroca Brut Nature Gran Reserva Cava

The aromas of scallop, smoked salmon, shrimp, and wasabi will marry perfectly with this cava, a Spanish sparkling wine made according to the traditional method. The Sumarroca winery’s Brut Nature Gran Reserva is a classic blend rounded out by Chardonnay grapes, a varietal that tastes simply divine with soy sauce. This organic vintage will couple beautifully with sushi of all kinds.  

White wine

If you prefer whites, look for the Fruity and vibrant taste tag next time you visit one of our stores. It will help you find wines that are exquisite with sushi. Their refreshing acidity and notes of citrus will complement the lightness and tartness of the rolls. Dry, crisp whites also make for excellent palate cleaners, preparing your taste buds for the next bite. You won’t go wrong either with a Pinot Gris, Melon de Bourgogne, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Riesling or Grüner Veltliner. Give one of these three a try:

Paco & Lola Rias Baixas

The vines in Galicia, Spain benefit from the region’s fresh oceanic climate and sea winds. Here, Albariño grapes reign supreme. This particular wine’s notes of lemon and natural saltiness echo the flavours of various types of raw fish. With a surprising finesse and impeccable balance, it’s a white that everyone will enjoy! 

Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Selection

Many Quebecers recently discovered Grüner Veltliner, a grape that’s synonymous with Austria. Now, more and more fantastic products made from this varietal can be found in stores. This one from Domäne Wachau is a favourite among both wine lovers and critics. It has hints of peach, jasmine, white pepper, and ginger, which is typical of most Grüner Veltliners. If you love wasabi and pickled ginger, you’ll love this wine with your sushi. 

Côte de Champlain Coquillages

Quebec’s unique climate gives its wines a natural acidity that makes them simply splendid with sushi. The grapevines at the Côte de Champlain vineyard grow in soil that’s rich in limestone, due to thick layers of seashells in the ground—remnants of the Champlain Sea. It’s what gives this bright and salty vintage its name. You have to try it!

Ready-to-drink cocktails

They’re not the first thing that come to mind, but some spirits can be super with sushi. For example, gin is delicious with avocado and cucumber, two essential ingredients in any sushi platter. Plus, it’s great for cleansing your palate between rolls. Here are three pre-made beverages made with gin or vodka that will be absolutely delicious with sushi or sashimi!

Sake

Sake is an obvious choice when it comes to sushi, given that it’s also Japanese. This drink made from fermented rice comes in a number of different flavour profiles, from delicate and sweet to crisp and dry to milky in both aroma and consistency. Depending on the kind you choose, you’ll want to serve it either chilled or slightly warm. 

To learn more about sake and get a few recommendations, check out this article: 

  • Sake secrets
    Profiles

    Sake secrets

    Delicious, complex, and produced in a variety of styles, sake is becoming increasingly popular here in Quebec. Here are a few key ways to enjoy it, with sushi (of course!), but with a variety of other foods as well.

    Read more

Red wine

There’s no two ways about it—reds just don’t go very well with raw fish. But if you’re set on having a red wine, find one that’s low in tannins and high in acidity, like a Gamay or a Pinot Noir

Give these pairings a try and let us know what you think. Kampaï!