When it comes to flavourful Indian food and its alcohol pairings, often beer takes away the grand slam. But is it really the best pairing with Indian food? Let’s look beyond beer and find some great matches. When you think of Indian food, you think of the deliciously abundant amount of spices that makes a complex flavour profile. It’s best to have a simple beverage to balance out the flavour profile. Let’s break the suspense here – White and red wine is your answer.
While selecting the right wine, there are two crucial deciding factors, the sauce used and the spice level of the food. From the plethora of wine options, choosing the right wine to go with the Indian food choice might not be an easy one. Riesling (both sweet and dry), Grüner Veltliner, Sparkling rosé and Gamay are four exceptional wines that go well with a wide variety of Indian dishes.
Riesling: This wine is of a German heritage that has intense fruity and floral aromas. They are high on acidity and usually served cold. Because of its sweetness and acidity, Riesling is a great wine combination for spicy food.
Grüner Veltliner: A dry white wine that originates in Austria with intense flavours of green pepper and lime is high on acidity. Grüner Veltliner is a perfect match for meat and chicken dishes.
Sparkling Rosé: This is one of the most versatile wines with depth in flavour and has high on acidity. Sparkling rosé pairs pretty much with every food type but especially with seafood dishes.
Gamay: This light-bodied red wine has similar taste flavours that of Pinot Noir. Because of the high natural acidity with low tannin levels, this wine can be paired with a wide variety of food options.
There are three key factors to consider while pairing wine and Indian curry, they are:
- A mildly hot curry can easily be matched with wine
- What are the other dishes that are served alongside? Preferably choose something that goes with the whole meal.
- The type of curry, green paste, tomato-based sauce or cream-focused.
With Indian food, tomatoes and curry paste are almost indispensable. This highly spiced tomato gravy is blended with both vegetables and meat as per the taste. A perfect wine to be paired with such Indian dishes are fruity wines served cold. Wines like Sparkling rosé, Gamay and Pinot Noir are some great examples of pairing.
Most people trying to find the best wine and food pairing often confuse themselves with the American or European approach. That is red wine goes along with red meat and white wine with seafood and veggies. Well, with Indian dishes, it doesn’t work like that.
Another common factor of Indian dishes is cream-focused sauces like korma, butter chicken, malai masala and so on. Heavy cream, curd or coconut milk are used in preparing these rich and spicy dishes. Deeper red wines with medium tannin are simply one of the best combinations you could ask for in such food instances. Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Garnacha are some classic examples of wine choices that go alongside cream-focused saucy dishes.
When we are on the topic of Indian dishes, green curry dishes like palak paneer are not to be missed. This is, in fact, one of the most exciting sauces to be paired with wine. Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Vinho Verde are some of the best wine pairings with these herbal creamy dishes. Riesling is one of the most common wines to be included in the Indian restaurant menu for balancing out on the spices involved. Indian curries have their distinctive aromas and flavours that need to be matched up with the right wine. Once you know how to match up with the weight, texture, and intensity of the food versus the wine, you’ll become a professional at it. For instance, lamb curry matches well with a glass of oaked Chardonnay.When we discuss Indian food, one dish that we should not miss out on is the mass favourite Tandoori chicken. This incredibly Smokey classic Indian dish can be best paired with Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignons and Zinfandels.
If you are planning to serve white wines with Indian food, be sure not to serve it cold as it may not release the perfumed aromas and flavours that make them the best wine choice. Spicy food with uplifting fruity flavours is usually a delectable treat.
Now that we have covered the main course let’s get to the most palatable part of any meal – the desserts. These intensely sweet dishes are usually made with three key ingredients, milk, rice or nuts. These delicate flavours are a perfect match with Moscato, Riesling or even dessert wines. It’s always preferable to avoid wines with acidity as they may not pair well with the intense sweetness of a Ras Malai. Don’t stick to the guidelines or refrain yourself from testing, finding the perfect wine match to your food can be a journey of discovery. Rieslings and other savoury wines may seem to be a safer option, but is it really? While wine is the best pairing for Indian food unquestionably, choosing the right one can be a responsibility.
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