Sushi and Champagne: the Perfect Match?

30th September 2014

It is rare for a sushi bar to propose Champagne on their wine list, yet the pairing of bubbles and raw fish is a particularly interesting one.

There are two possibilities when matching Champagne and sushi: firstly Extra Brut or Nature Champagnes with their low sugar levels due to little or no dosage. This approach, which plays on the minerality of the Champagne, allows full expression to the briny aromas and texture of the raw fish. Preferably choose a Blanc de Blancs Champagne (made uniquely from Chardonnay) from the chalky terroirs of the Côtes de Blancs, such as the cuvée Oenophile from the house of Pierre Gimonnet, or the magnificent Terre de Vertus Nature by Larmandier-Bernier.

The second possibility is a pairing with characterful rosé Champagnes. These have the ability to marry well with fish dishes, naturally, but also with the stronger flavours and nuances of certain sushi and maki. In fact the fruity characters of rosé champagne will form an ideal foil for soy sauce and be excellent with the melting texture of the raw fish. The selection should tend towards powerful champagnes and free run rosés, such as the superb Rosé de Saignée from the house of Coessens, the cuvée Rosé by Eric Rodez, or the absolutely marvellous Bollinger Rosé.

This subtle association of Japanese cuisine and French Champagne is also, and above all, a question of balance. One should not plunge an entire sushi into the soy or wasabi sauce, but delicately dip one side of it, in general the part with the fish, into the accompaniment. And the best matches will be with oily fish such as salmon or tuna, rather than white fish like sea bass.

To finish the meal a demi-sec Champagne will be the perfect partner for Japanese patisseries, the art of which is still relatively unknown here, but that some consider to be equal to that of the French patisserie makers!

Shared by Nathalie Collet

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