Matching Gewürztraminer with Japanese Food

Gewürztraminer (which I’ll shorten to Gewürz) is probably not the most obvious match with Japanese food but there are some dishes that do enhance the flavours of the spicy Gewürz grape. Chicken yakitori is a great match with Gewürz mainly due to the sweet soy glaze and its smoky char-grill flavours.. The other more unusual match is with Unagi (ie eel) which is a rich dish with the distinctive flavour of the eel that is combined with the thick and sweet sauce that is used for basting, along with the char-grill flavours. This dish needs acidity to balance the richness, and something that can marry well with the strong flavours and sweetness of the sauce. This is where Gewürz is an ideal partner – or alternatively one of the other aromatics such as Riesling or Pinot Gris, as long as they have some residual sugar.

(These suggestions are provided by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW, who wrote the booklet “Matching Wine to Japanese Cuisine” for New Zealand Wine, 2009).