The Expert-Approved Wine To Sip Alongside Fried Sushi Rolls

Today's sushi menus often feature a dazzling array of colorful raw fish, inventive sauces, and crunchy vegetables. However, not everyone is drawn to the deep pinks and oranges of fresh tuna and salmon. For those who dislike the raw stuff, or simply prefer the sweet crunch of tempura, fried sushi may be the ideal choice.

The battered and deep-fried rolls offer a deliciously rich flavor and crisp exterior. The added fat and altered taste of the cooked pieces warrant their own consideration when selecting a wine pairing. To provide guidance on making the best choice, Food Republic consulted Nicki McTague, the president of Infinite Monkey Theorem.

Unlike the dry white wines recommended for raw sushi, fried rolls and bites with cooked fish should be paired with bright and acidic wines. "For those that love a little fried fish ... grab a zesty Semillon, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, and delicate Riesling," McTague advised. "These wines will bring out the natural acid and complement your crispy roll needs." All three varietals can provide sharp notes of apple, citrus, or stone fruit to refresh the palate and shake off the heaviness of the dish. Plus, these wines are wonderfully aromatic, and can lean toward the sweeter side, offering a refreshing contrast to more pungent fish.

Fried fish-friendly white wines

A herbaceous or green apple-heavy Sauvignon Blanc may be a staple in your home, but Semillon and Riesling grapes could introduce new flavors, even to seasoned wine enthusiasts. Semillon, though perhaps not as widely known, is a fuller-bodied wine that often contributes to your favorite Bordeaux blends. Look for younger vintages, which can provide the zesty, bright lemon notes that expert Nicki McTague recommends, potentially enhancing the tang of a spicy mayo sauce on a fried tuna roll for a more nuanced flavor.

Speaking of sweet, Riesling has, at least in the United States, often been regarded as overly saccharine. However, this versatile grape can produce wines that are fruity, floral, and dry, making it an excellent match for fried sushi or rich dishes like Swiss cheese fondue. A handy tip for gauging where a Riesling falls on the sweetness spectrum is to check the alcohol content listed on the label; a higher ABV (alcohol by volume) usually indicates a drier wine.

If you're unable to BYOB or discern options from the menu, ask your server for a rundown of their selection to choose a light bottle that can refresh the palate between bites. Then, sit back and savor the aromatic contrast with your meal. If you discover a new favorite white wine, consider pairing these acidic options with a fried fish sandwich to further explore the pairing.