Pairing with sushi can be tricky—wasabi and ginger?—but fragrant whites are the secret
The wine: Dry rosé
Pairing hint: Pink on pink—too fun to resist. But even if the colors didn’t match, the salmon makes the tart cherry and citrus in the wine pop and its minerality turn to sweet brininess.
Our pick: Bonny Doon 2009 “Vin Gris de Cigare” (Central Coast; $15). Watermelon, cherry, and raspberry, rounded with roses and spiked with lime.
The wine: Gewürztraminer
Pairing hint: An exotic match, with the spiciness of the wine matching the spicy sauce on the sushi and setting off the earthiness of the eel; the ginger closes the loop on the wine’s aromatics.
Our pick: Thomas Fogarty 2008 Gewürztraminer (Monterey County; $14). Tropical night in a bottle, from Asian pear and guava to pineapple and piquant jasmine.
The wine: Very barely off-dry Riesling
Pairing hint: You need a big-bodied white for the meaty fish. Riesling is mouth filling, with sweet stone fruit to stand up to the spice and a mineral edge that loves the brininess of nori.
Our pick: Dashe 2009 McFadden Farm Dry Riesling (Potter Valley; $20). Bright stone fruit, pink grapefruit, and guava wrapped in jasmine.
The wine: Grüner Veltliner
Pairing hint: With sweet crab, the citrus in “Grüner” (a new immigrant Austrian grape) turns to gorgeous lime, and all of its aromatics make a showing.
Our pick: Chehalem 2009 Grüner Veltliner (Ribbon Ridge; $19). Juicy apple carries lemon, grapefruit, and herbs under a layer of haunting jasmine.
The wine: Pinot Gris
Pairing hint: Apple and aromatic stone fruit in the wine are perfect links to sweet shrimp, with a hit of citrus serving as a spritz of lemon.
Our pick: Morgan 2009 R&D Franscioni Vineyard Pinot Gris (Santa Lucia Highlands; $17). Layers of citrus, Asian pear, tart apple, and crisp white peach.