A few companies in Japan have been trying to pair wine, a traditionally non-Japanese beverage, with favorite foods from around the country. First, we saw Okonomiyaki Wine, meant to be enjoyed with Osaka and Hiroshima’s favorite savory pancake. Recently, one of the staff members over at our sister site YouPouch discovered a bottle of Sushi Wine that is said to go perfectly with the flavors of raw fish. Nihonshu, what is commonly referred to as “sake” outside of Japan is the usual sushi standby, so we were excited to give this new competitor a try.
Just like Hidekazu Tojo, the expat mastermind behind the California Roll, Sushi Wine was also created by a Japanese expatriate. Yoko Sato, who runs a winery in Spain, created this Spanish blend of three different grapes that were chosen to perfectly complement the taste of fish, vinegared rice, soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger.
And now for the taste test!
We decided to first take a sip of the wine without any sushi and found it to be dry, yet extremely light and fresh. The wine was so refreshing we could see ourselves drinking the entire bottle on its own, with or without the recommended accompaniment of sushi. However, the two large kanji representing the word sushi prompted us to set down the glass and have a bite to eat instead.
We paired the Sushi Wine with a small bowl of chirashi zushi, a deconstructed version of Japan’s most famous rolled dish.
However, after our first bite and sip, we were extremely disappointed. The wine was so easy to drink with notes of citrus, but we wouldn’t say it goes well with the taste of sushi. It might go better with the sweet flavors of inarizushi or anago (salt-water eel) sushi, or even the rich, oily taste of saba (mackerel) sushi, but we aren’t entirely convinced. Rather, we feel this specialty wine would work well with carpaccio or, if you want to stick with Japanese food, karaage (Japanese fried chicken) or fried prawns. However, we think Spanish seafood dishes like shrimp pil-pil or paella are the perfect pairing for Sushi Wine.
Our expat friends from France seemed to agree that Sushi Wine doesn’t particularly go with sushi. With that said, we still want to buy a few more bottles; the wine was just so good on its own! And at 1,200 yen (US$11), why not?
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