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Takeout Tastings: Pairing Wine And Sushi

Healthy, handy and downright tasty, takeout sushi has exploded across Australia. Every shopping centre and food strip has one, if not a few, favourite sushi bars. You know what you like, but how do you match the unique flavours of Japanese ingredients like nori to wine?


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Follow our guide to bring out the best in some Japanese sushi favourites.

NIGIRI SUSHI/SASHIMI 

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Look for a vibrant and refreshing wine to offset the creaminess of the rich and raw fish.

Pair with: Riesling is perfect, as is a Sparkling wine.

CALIFORNIA ROLL 

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Creamy rice, delicate seafood and subtle umami notes from the nori – this combination needs a lively wine with a creamy texture and subtle savoury hints.

Pair with: Bottle fermented Sparkling wine.

SALMON AND AVOCADO ROLL

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The combination of salmon and avocado is rich and creamy, so the perfect wine to match would also be rich and creamy. Chardonnay fits this bill perfectly.

Pair with: Chardonnay.

SPICY TUNA ROLL 

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Tuna is a meaty fish, so we need a wine with a little more body. The addition of chilli adds another dimension. A Rosé would be a superb choice, however Pinot Noir or a lighter Grenache would work just as well. 

Pair with: Rosé, Pinot Noir, lighter style Grenache.

TEMPURA PRAWN ROLL 

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The beauty of a crunchy tempura batter needs a wine with a backbone of acidity to balance. Semillon is a great choice, as is a Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

Pair with: Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blends.

TERIYAKI CHICKEN SUSHI ROLL

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Teriyaki brings not only a touch of sweetness, but also extra depth of flavour. A wine with an extra flavour weight is what you need here. Pinot Noir is great and Pinot Gris is just as good.

Pair with: Pinot Noir or Pinot Gris.

TRADITIONAL CONDIMENTS – PICKLED GINGER, SOY AND WASABI

PICKLED GINGER

Anything pickled is a mine field when it comes to wine due to the vinegar in the pickle. Opt for fuller-bodied whites like PG or Chardonnay over aromatic whites (Fiano works too). Otherwise, lighter reds like Pinot, and Grenache are also good choices.

SOY SAUCE

Soy sauce is rather bold with salty and savoury umami flavours – when accompanying sushi, a Chardonnay with its savouriness can work as can PG. When matched with tofu or red meat, choose mid-weight Shiraz or Grenache blends.

WASABI

A little bit of wasabi goes a long way. Look for aromatic, but rich white wines like Viognier or Gewürztraminer. Grüner Veltliner and Riesling are good as well. With reds, choose a variety with low tannin like Pinot, Gamay, Grenache or even medium-bodied Shiraz.

LEARN MORE

For more great food and wine combinations, be sure to check out our dedicated Food and Wine Pairing pages.

Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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