Best Wine with Asian Cuisine

Posted by Emily Solomon on December 11, 2014 (1 Comment)

In today’s culinary world, the art of food and wine pairing is not as black and white as serving a bold Napa Cabernet Sauvignon with Filet Mignon, because if you paired that same Cabernet with Beef Vindalu your mouth would be on fire. When it comes to pairing wine with spicy food such as Indian or South-East Asian cuisine, there are a few rules of thumb to follow.


Choose the Bubbles:

If your first course calls for a fish or meat bun also known as “Malu Pan” try enhancing those curry powder and ginger flavors with light bubbles, preferably a Blanc de Noir. The tangy acidity and delicate bubbles will balance the curry flavors while also accompanying the doughiness of the bun with touches of brioche notes in the sparkling wine. Other “Short Eats” that could work well are vegetarian samosas or fish-stuffed Chinese rolls.

German Riesling is Your Best Friend:

Picking a wine with a slightly off-dry or sweet taste to it like a Spätlese Riesling, meaning “late harvest” brings out the spicy flavors of a dish due to its high acidity, fruit flavors of green apple, pear, honeysuckle, and low alcohol content without overpowering the palate. This wine tastes best with Goan Shrimp Curry or Spicy Chickpea Soup.

Gewürztraminer, the Spicy, Sweet, Sour Grape:

Depending on where your bottle of Gewürztraminer comes from, it can be an incredibly versatile wine. Spicy-style Gewürztraminer from Alexander Valley or Washington State brings out the mild, gourmet spices in dishes such as Chicken Tikka Masala, Dahl “Lentil Soup” while the more full-bodied, oily versions from Alsace complement the citrus and earthy flavors in Cod Ceylon Lemongrass Soup or Sri Lankan Chicken Curry.

Other Dessert Wine Options:

Pairing a dessert wine with a spicy dish can help cut through those exotic gourmet spices and round out the flavors. A Late Harvest Viognier with a more syrupy consistency and notes of chamomile, mango and passion fruit can work very well with Sri Lankan Pineapple Curry or, if you’re looking for a lighter-style dessert wine, go for an Orange Muscat with more acidity and watch the lemon citrus, apple and honeysuckle notes unravel with grilled chicken topped with mango chutney.

As you can see, pairing wine with spicy South-East Asian food is a delicate dance that can only be achieved by paying proper attention to the nuances of the wines you select and knowing how to best implement the spices in your food for a perfect marriage. For other great recipe ideas that would work well with the wines mentioned above please click here.

Comments (1 Comment)

Hi Dinesh

This is very interesting. Learnt something new about pairing wines with spicy food. Thank you for giving this information. I certainly will try them for my Christmas dinner with friends. Hope I will be able to get them in Ottawa.


Posted by Vinitha on November 10, 2015

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