We sat down with Flagship Restaurant Group Sommelier, Shannon Saulsbury, to chat about all things eco-friendly wine, vegan maki pairings, and more!
What do Veganuary and sustainable wine have in common?
There are many reasons why we love celebrating Veganuary, and reducing our ecological footprint is one of them. Fortunately, sustainability is a mindset that can be applied not only to what we eat, but to what we drink as well!
Just like with any other agricultural product, there are ways to make wine that are more or less taxing on the planet. However, when wine is made responsibly, it is one of the most powerful forces in protecting and restoring ecosystems. When looking for eco-friendly wines, search for terms such as: organic, biodynamic, fish-friendly, and dry farmed to indicate that these wines have been made with the environment in mind. Eco-friendly wines have the ability to rebuild soil-systems, protect endangered waterways, and support biodiversity in our ecosystems. At Blue Sushi Sake Grill, sustainability is at the heart of how we choose wines to share with our community.
How do I pair sustainable wine with vegan sushi?
As a general rule, match bold wines with bold vegan rolls, and match light wines with light vegan rolls. Look for wines and vegan rolls that will complement one another without overpowering one another. You might be surprised at some of the unique pairings that arise!
Pairing: Vegan Hot Popper x Tangent Sauvignon Blanc
Why it Works: The zesty grapefruit flavors of sauvignon blanc dance on the palate with tempura jalapeño and sriracha. Brisk acidity cleanses the palate after each decadent bite of vegan smoked salmon and vegan cream cheese. Both the wine and vegan roll offer some zing, a bit of depth, and a refreshing finish.
Pairing: Vegan Green Goddess x ViNO by Charles Smith Rosé
Why it Works: The hallmarks of the Vegan Green Goddess are the vegan tuna, avocado, fresh shallot, and black tobiko ‘caviart’. The ViNO Rosé is a fruit-forward and dry wine from Washington with tantalizing notes of guava, apricot, and honeysuckle. Here, the fruitiness of the wine is able to flirt with the clean vegetal notes of the roll while standing up to the richness of the avocado and the brine of the ‘caviart’.
Pairing: Vegan Cowgirl x Gunsight Rock Cabernet Sauvignon
Why it Works: Pairing tannic red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon with sushi can be a challenge due to Cabernet’s strength and spice. Fortunately, the Vegan Cowgirl roll has enough sass to make it work. Pickle tempura, french-fried onion rings, and tonkatsu sauce add mouthwatering richness to this roll. In return, Gunsight Rock Cabernet offers crunchy and ripe cherry and pomegranate notes, a hint of spice, and a wisp of smoke.
Other wine & sushi pairings to consider:
RIESLING x spicy, fried, & saucy rolls
PINOT GRIGIO x fresh, verdant, & healthy rolls
CHARDONNAY x rolls with vegan salmon & shrimp
RED BLEND x flavor-packed rolls with bbq or sweet soy sauces
PINOT NOIR x umami rolls with mushrooms, toasted sesame, or spicy sauce