10 wines to drink with sushi
Not everybody loves sake, so the burning question is what else to drink with your sashimi or nigiri-zushi?
You could opt for a fabulous vintage Champagne if you’re lucky enough to be dining at Urusawa and won’t mind the $400 per person tab.
For the rest of us, here’s a selection of wines that work well with sushi.
To find where to buy them, search www.winesearcher.com. Keep in mind that not every local wine shop is listed there. If you can’t turn up the exact bottle at a shop near you, try a wine from another producer in the same appellation. Or another vintage from the same producer.
Crisp and refreshing
2011 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Blanc (Alsace, France)
From one of the top estates in Alsace, Zind-Humbrecht’s entry-level Pinot Blanc is a terrific buy. Crisp and refreshing, it’s scented with flowers and has a lovely balance and minerality. A versatile food wine. About $18.
Scented with peaches and lime
2012 Quintarelli Secco Ca’ del Merlo (Veneto, Italy)
From the legendary Quintarelli estate in Valpolicella, a beguiling white wine scented with white peaches and lime. With its minerality and bright acidity, this could be the Veneto’s analogue to the Wachau’s Grüner Veltliner. From $38 to $40.
Lithe and elegant
2012 Failla Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast, California)
Pronounced FAY-la, this is a Chardonnay to drink young. Lithe and elegant with subtle aromas of pear and lemon, the 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is Burgundian in style, aged in 50% French oak, and of that only only a small proportion is new. From $34 to $36.
Crisp and clean
2012 Abbazia di Novacella Stitftskellerei Neustift Kerner (Alto Adige, Italy)
Don’t let the long name scare you off this beautiful Italian white wine from the Alto Adige. Just remember Abbazia di Novacella and -- going all the way to the end -- the name of the grape, “Kerner.” The wine is golden in color, very clean, very flowery, yet crisp and appealing. From $18 to $22.
Balance and finesse
2009 Brooks Riesling Willamette Valley (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
Thrilling at any price, the 2009 Brooks Riesling shows the potential of Riesling in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Beautifully aromatic -- and get this, under $20 -- this Riesling is dry, not sweet, and exhibits balance and finesse. The grapes come from three sustainably farmed vineyards in the valley’s Eolo-Amity Hills. About $18.
An unconventional blend
2010 Matthiasson Napa Valley White Wine (Napa Valley, California)
Vineyard consultant by day, Steve Matthiasson is part of a new generation of winemakers who work their vineyards sustainably and are forging their own way of making wine. The Matthiasson white is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Ribolla Gialla, Sémillon and Tocai Friulano. Take in this crisp white’s minerality, beautiful acidity and laser focus. Not to mention flavors of lychee and white peach and its fresh clean finish. Hard to find, but worth the hunt. If not this vintage, then the next. From $28 to $35.
Gentle bouquet of wildflowers
2011 Inama Soave Classico (Veneto, Italy)
The grapes for third-generation winemaker Stefano Inama’s Soave Classico come from 30-year-old vines, giving this Soave has an uncharacteristic intensity. The bouquet is gentle, mostly wild flowers, but the 2011 has a minerality is reminiscent of Chablis along with a bright thread of acidity. And that’s what holds your interest, sip after sip. About $15.
Little-known white from Liguria
2012 La Ginestraia Pigato Riviera Ligure de Ponente (Liguria, Italy)
Sommeliers love to surprise guests with little known wines, and in Italy, Pigato is a favorite right now. La Ginestraia is terrific — zingy and minerally, with an underlying earthiness. It’s time for this lovely white wine from Liguria to step into the limelight. From $17 to $20.
Classic aromas of green apple and white pepper
2012 Salomon Undhof Hochterrassen Grüner Veltliner (Wachau, Austria)
Buy any of the Grüner Veltliners from this historic Wachau estate on the Danube. The Undhof Hochterrassen is a great value at $15, but disappears quickly from local wine shops. Spend a little more for Salomon’s racy 2011 Undhof Wachtberg Grüner Veltliner with much more complexity and verve (about $25) or the 2012 single-vineyard “Wieden & Berg” Grüner at less than $20.
Chalky and crisp with a fine bead of bubbles
NV Champagne Pierre Moncuit Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut à Le Mesnil-sur-Oger (Champagne, France)
And if you do want to drink Champagne with sushi, a grower Champagne can be a wonderful value considering the quality. This Blanc de Blancs from the grand cru village Mesnil-sur-Oger is chalky and crisp. Scented with hazelnut and toast, it is a stunning Champagne. Just one of three Blanc de Blanc cuvées made by Nicole Moncuit and all from a single vintage each year, currently the 2010. From $39 to $42.
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