All of us enjoy a bit of spice with our food every now and then, whether it is home cooked or from the local takeaway. However, most of us will reach for a beer or soft drink when eating a curry, as opposed to opening a bottle of wine. There’s a common misconception that wine and spicy food do not mix; we disagree! Here are some quick and easy tips for pairing that delicious food with an equally delicious wine.
If you want to tame some of that spiciness tingling on your tongue, then look for some sweet wines. A sweeter wine will balance some of the hotness from your chosen spicy food; so as not to create a clash of flavours on your taste buds. The residual sugar in rose or an off-dry white works perfectly to combat the heat, as it coats the tongue. You don’t need to invest in a bottle of dessert wine to get that sweet fix, try Riesling, or something similar, for a wine that works perfectly with spicy food.
The high alcohol content in wine is going to react with the spices in your food, and cause a burn on the tongue that is far from pleasant. A low alcohol wine that has been chilled in the fridge will help to cool down the heat and means you can drink it quicker than a high alcohol wine, which tends to be sipped. Taking a nice glug of low alcohol wine will cool you tongue quicker than sipping a high alcohol alternative. Crisp, low percentage wines should be the order of the day with your next spicy dinner.
This seems to be the most popular opinion between wine experts; sparkling wines are the best to drink whilst eating spicy food. The bubbles in sparkling wine provide a nice contrast on your taste buds, which are trying to cool themselves down after the super hot sauce you’ve just consumed. The tang in certain champagnes and sparkling wines will offset the tang of your meal and create a wonderfully pleasant sensation on your tongue. Plus, everyone loves an excuse to drink a bit of sparkling with their dinner.
Crisp Red Wines
Everyone is worried about combining red wine with spicy food, normally because of the tannin and alcohol content. However, you don’t need to avoid red wine altogether when enjoying a nice curry; just be wary of the ones you choose. A low alcohol content, crisp, red wine will taste delicious with your meal. If you’re out searching for a nice bottle of red to serve then look for those that are either fruity or spicy, with a good level of acidity. Avoid favourites such as Merlot or Shiraz and opt for a Barbera or Zinfandel instead.
Pairing wine with spicy food doesn’t have to be difficult, especially not now you have all these expert tips! However, if you’re still stuck for ideas then try visiting a wine merchant and asking an expert what they suggest. Let them know the food you’re cooking, and the particular spices involved, for a more personalised recommendation.