Can You Pair Wine with Sushi?

When you think of sushi, you may not always think of wine as the natural pairing. Yet, it can work amazingly well – if you know what you’re doing. It is a tricky match to get right, as sushi, like all Asian food, is more challenging to pair with wine – essentially a European invention – because Japanese cuisine has evolved alongside grain-based drinks like beer and sake, not wine. But this doesn’t mean that sushi and wine can’t exist well together. Ideal Wine Company loves this combination and we have everything you need to know to make this pairing perfect. Let’s have a look at how we match wine and sushi…

Ideal Wine Company sushi and wine
Let’s have a look at how we match wine and sushi…

What qualities should you look out for?

Sushi works well with certain varieties of wine – so you need to be looking out for these. Essentially, the standard rule is that the wine can’t be too dry, as it will clash with the fish. Similarly, the wine can’t be too sweet – think of the wine that is usually paired with Chinese or Thai food – as this swamps the fine delicacy of the fish.

When pairing wine and sushi, you should be striving for a good balance between sweet and dry. A fine balance, integrity, good fruit and crisp acidities are all desirable qualities to look for in your wine. As a general rule, Rieslings of Germany and Alsace, and their New World counterparts make splendid companions for sushi.

Our favourite pairings

  • Salmon roll – dry rosé

A salmon roll usually consists of cucumber, avocado and salmon rolled in rice and coated in seaweed. With these flavour combinations, you can expect fresh and light flavours. This means that it works well with a dry rosé.  The salmon makes the tart cherry and citrus in the wine pop and its minerality turn to sweet brininess.

  • Spicy tuna roll – Riesling

A spicy tuna roll can pack a punch! Filled with spice, this tuna and rice roll offers plenty of flavour and heat, meaning your wine needs to be able to handle this. Our top pick for this is a very barely off-dry Riesling. As you need a big-bodied white for the meaty fish, this wine can handle everything. Riesling is mouth-filling, with sweet stone fruit to stand up to the spice and a mineral edge that loves the brininess of nori.

  • Prawn nigiri – Pinot Gris

A prawn nigiri is a simple offering. It is essentially a prawn placed over pressed vinegared rice. When thinking of a pairing for this dish, you’ll need to make the prawn your focus. We suggest choosing a Pinot Gris. The apple and aromatic stone fruit in the wine are perfect links to sweet prawns, with a hit of citrus serving as a spritz of lemon. It’s a perfect match!

While it may not be the obvious option, pairing your sushi with wine can prove to be very delicious! While it may be a slightly harder match, the results can pay off big time. Why not try wine with your next sushi meal?

What Wine Should You Serve at Easter Lunch?

With Easter coming up soon – this year it falls on Sunday 1 April – it’s time to get ready for your Easter lunch. This is the perfect time to gather your friends and family to celebrate Easter and Spring. Whether you opt for a classic lamb dish or a fresh green salad, we’re here to give you the perfect pour. Here are some of Ideal Wine Company’s favourite wines to serve at Easter lunch.

Ideal Wine Company Easter
With Easter coming up soon it’s time to get your favourite wine ready for your Easter lunch.

Lamb – Cabernet Sauvignon

For spring and Easter, the quintessential dish has to be lamb. Coming into season at this time, it’s a popular dish that you can expect to see on many tables. As lamb is a strong meat in flavour, you’ll need to look for a wine that can match it. For this, a Cabernet Sauvignon is your best bet. With this wine, you can expect a tannic, full-bodied red that can stand up to the strength of lamb. The richness and texture of the meat will be complemented by the ripe plum and earthy flavours with hints of chocolate. A great choice to break out this Easter!

Glazed Ham – Pinot Noir

A glazed ham is synonymous with sweet and sour flavours. The saltiness of the ham is usually in perfect balance with the sweetness of the glaze. When it comes to pairing your wine with this, you’ll want to make sure you’re not interrupting this relationship. Try opting for a Pinot Noir, which should help to provide the perfect stability you’re looking for. This wine’s low tannins and high acidity is the perfect complement to the ham. With cherry fruit flavours and a little spice on the palate, a Pinot Noir continues the harmony between sweet and sour.

Fresh green salad – Assyrtiko

With spring finally upon us, it’s time to bring together all the amazing fresh produce we can get our hands on. This means greens – and what better way to showcase them than with a fresh green salad. Combining the freshest green vegetables on offer with a light lemon vinaigrette, this is an ideal dish for Easter lunch. To bring out the freshness of the salad, the best accompaniment is Assyrtiko, a white wine from Greece. This light and crisp wine offers bright flavours, bracing acidity and an elegant mineral character. A truly refreshing choice.

Lemon tart – Muscat

No celebratory lunch is complete without pudding! For Easter, a lemon tart is the perfect option. Combining sweetness, slight tartness and a light finish, this dessert brings out the flavours of the season. When pairing wine with this tart, look for a Muscat. With fruit flavours including citrus, lime, kumquats, confit of orange zest and green pineapple, it is a refreshing burst of flavour. The richness on the palate, with its vibrant acidity, will lift and support the lemon creaminess. It’s the perfect way to end your meal.

Easter is all about light spring dishes. Make sure to keep all your flavours balanced with each other and remember that refreshing options are usually your best choices. With your perfect pour in hand – it’s time to celebrate Easter!

The Perfect Wine for Toasting Your Fabulous Mum This Mother’s Day!

We don’t need an excuse to celebrate mums, but this Mother’s Day brings the perfect opportunity to make them feel special. Ideal Wine Company have some great recommendations for choosing the perfect bottle of wine for your mother, something for every taste!

Ideal Wine Company Mother's Day wine
Here are our recommendations for choosing the perfect bottle of wine for your mother!

Shiraz – for the mums who love bold flavours

If your mum loves big flavours, there’s no better option than a Shiraz. This big and brooding red wine is known for its powerful black fruit flavours, savoury undertones and high ABV. This wine isn’t for the faint-hearted but is the perfect warming drink for this Mother’s Day.

Merlot – for mums who like a fruity wine

For a smooth, lush and less aggressive wine choice, Merlot is a safe and reliable choice. With upfront fruit flavours, moderate tannin and balanced acidity, this wine works for any occasion. You can expect to be met with flavours of black cherry, plum, chocolate, dried herbs and cedar, all coming together for a truly delicious sip. Merlot is the perfect crowd pleaser that’s sure to go down well.

Sémillon – perfect for mums who like a honeyed finish

If you’re looking for a full-bodied white wine this Mother’s Day, look no further than a nice bottle of Sémillon. This Bordeaux-borne grape is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc, giving an otherwise lush, mouth-filling wine a welcome hint of zippiness. The light and zingy notes elevate the notes to bring a refreshing finish – perfect for the beginning of spring! Try looking for a variety with some age or oak on it, as this gave give some truly delicious notes of honey, almond, and an unctuous texture.

Saignée – for mums who love rosé – with a twist

Saignée is like no other rosé. Considered a by-product of red winemaking, this unique style of wine us often darker and bolder in colour than any other rosé. You’ll find this wine ranging in shade from deep pink to light purple, with bold and fruity aromas. Key flavours you can expect to find include sweet raspberry and cherry, leading into savoury notes of white pepper and bacon. If your mum is looking to branch out from the usual rosé, this is certainly one to try!

Prosecco – for celebrating mums in style

When it comes down to it, there’s no better way to celebrate than with a glass of bubbly. This Mother’s Day, why not break out the Prosecco to toast to your mum? This dependable Italian fizz is perfect for a variety of events and is sure to go down a treat. Most Prosecco is classified as extra dry, meaning you can expect medium acidity, sherbet sweetness and a floral freshness in each sip. With soft bubbles, serve your Prosecco ice cold and in tulip-shaped glasses – the perfect receptacle to appreciate those delicate white flower aromas!

This Mother’s Day, there are plenty of wines to choose from. Whether your mum is a fan of white, red, rosé or something sparkling, there’s something for every mum.

Love lasagna? Here’s how to pair different wines with different varieties of lasagna

Lasagna, the great Italian comfort food, is always a crowd pleaser. The layers of pasta, meat and sauce always go down well. But did you know there are so many types of lasagne? Beyond the traditional tomato and béchamel variety, there is a wide range of varieties that include a creamy white sauce and a pesto-driven option. This week, Ideal Wine Company is showing you some of our favourite lasagnes and what wine to serve with them.

Ideal Wine Company wine and lasagna
Did you know there are so many types of lasagne? Here’s what wine you should be pairing with them…

Red lasagne– high acidity and dried fruit

Perhaps the most common type of lasagna, red lasagne is usually the first variety to come to mind. With its traditional tomato and béchamel sauce combination, it is stuffed with mozzarella, ricotta and meat. This hearty and warming meal works well with an equally intense red wine. Try opting for Aglianico, a black grape wine found in the South of Italy. This wine’s high tannin content complements this rich and fatty dish. In addition, the dried fruit flavours and the high acidity work perfectly to cut through the slightly sweet tanginess of the hearty tomato sauce.

White lasagne– look for leanness

If you’re looking for something a bit different with your lasagna, a white lasagna, or lasagne blanca, is a great alternative. Rather than using the traditional bolognaise tomato sauce, a white lasagne consists of peas, mushrooms, Italian sausage and a creamy white sauce. With this type of dish, you should be pairing it with a wine like Arneis. This Piedmontese grape is a zingy and lean white wine that acts like a herb. When served with béchamel or other creamy white sauces, it infuses the dish with earthy and unmistakable green notes. With the amount of heavy creaminess in this dish, the wine’s lean and olive driven qualities are sure to cleanse your palette.

Pesto lasagne– opt for rich and white

This pesto-based alternative of traditional lasagne combines parmesan cheese, basil, pine nuts and olive oil. The result is a dish that is full of flavour and aroma. If you’re serving this dish with wine, you can’t go wrong with a Vermentino. This equally lean and green option is dry, a touch oily and just bitter enough to provide the perfect partner to the fragrant lasagna. This Italian white provides the perfect aromatic hints of herby green to complement the pesto.

Sangiovese – the universal choice to pair with lasagne

If you’re eating any type of lasagna, Sangiovese is perfect. This really is a one-bottle-suits-all type of wine. In almost all cases, the tart and savoury wine drinks well with the intensity of lasagna. This is because the high acid and rustic flavours you can expect in Sangiovese will cut through the creamy fat and tangy tomato at the same time.

This really is the perfect choice for any type of lasagne. It’s always worth having a bottle to hand next time you make any type of lasagna!

No matter what your favourite type of lasagne is, you’ll easily be able to find the perfect wine match. Take a good look at what flavours and textures the sauce is bringing. A good rule to follow is to pair creamy sauces with lean wines and lean sauces with richer offerings. With so many lasagnas to try – and wines to pair them with- you’ll find the perfect choice for you.

Pairing Wine with Indian Food

Undoubtedly Indian food is one of the nation’s favourite dishes. With intense flavours and heavy spices, Indian meals can be difficult to pair with wine. Add in the wide array of curries, sauces and chutneys on offer and the flavour profile becomes even harder to define. But you can enjoy many wines with your Indian food, which is why this week Ideal Wine Company is bringing you our top tips for pairing Indian food with reds and whites.

Ideal Wine Company Wine and Indian Food
Ideal Wine Company are showing you how to pair Indian food with red and white wine.

Basics to consider

Bold dishes require simpler wines, that’s the main thing to remember. Anything too strong or bold will be competing for dominance. A wine known for its simplicity will help to balance out the flavours of your meal and contribute to a better overall taste.

To help further balance the dish, there are considerations to bear in mind. Look at how spicy the dish is and the base of the sauce. This will give you a good starting point for matching your wine.

Spicy curries and tomato-based sauces – fruity and light

Blending together tomatoes and curry paste is a popular base for Indian curries and creates a highly spiced meal. This combination can be found in common favourites, such as Vindaloo, Masala, Baingan, Jalfrezi and Bharta sauces. As they create a spicy taste, you’ll want to counteract this heat and intense flavour. Ideally, do this with something light and fruity that can be served cool. This will allow the spice to remain the dominant flavour, the tomatoes to be complemented by fruity notes and the cool temperature to provide a welcome coolness. For this, try opting for rosé, as its fresh notes of fruit provide a good counter. If you’re a red wine drinker, a medium bodied option, such as a Pinot Noir or GSM blend, will provide a depth of fruity flavour.

Green sauces – stick to a classic dry white

These green curries get their colour through leafy greens being slow cooked with cream, onions and spices. Coriander is also prominent in a large variety of these sauces. In doing this, a herby and delicious dish is created. Due to the herbaceous and freshness of this curry, it’s best to stick with a classic option. Most herb-dominated dishes work well with a dry white wine that highlights the lean green profile. With these dishes, we recommend trying a dry Riesling or Chenin Blanc. These whites are the perfect option. Should you fancy something livelier, a good dry sparkling wine can make a great match too. Try opting for an extra-brut sparkling wine to match the herbal lightness of the dish.

Cream sauces – tart fruitiness and medium tannins

Whether your sauce uses heavy cream, yoghurt or coconut milk, these dishes usually have a thick sauce. Notably examples are dishes like Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken and Kormas. The cream softens the rich spices, as the fats in the cream absorb and diffuse the spices throughout the dish. As these are usually less heat-driven, they are one of the easiest types of curries to pair with wine. Deep reds with a medium tannin are ideal for cream based curries. Look out for subtle brown baking spice flavours and a tart fruitiness to enhance your dish. A Zinfandel or Carignan is usually a good place to start.

When it comes to Indian food, wines with simple, well-defined flavours are the best option. These are better at creating harmony between your food and drink. Should your Indian food be particularly spicy, there are 3 main traits your wine should have: serve chilled, pair with wine that’s lower in alcohol content and drink a wine with some sweetness.