Secrets to Wine for Spicy Foods

Matching wine with spicy food has been a challenge for centuries, at The Wine Community we've been working hard on a solution to this problem. 2.5 million tastings later and our customers and experience have confirmed what to do. Let us show you why "Experience First" wine tasting has allowed us to discover some amazing wines to match any spicy dish! Never tried us before, test these wines out on our 5050 programme!

THAI FOOD

Constant sharp and fresh spice notes signify Thai food. We need wines that balance out the spice without a jarring or combative flavour profile. Any time spent travelling in Asia will show that sweet tea is often drunk with meals.

To this end we recommend wines with a hint of residual sugar as the go to wines. For Thai we look for lighter more vibrant flavours. This provides the balance and a soothing quality when enjoying your spicy curry or soup.

Look for wines such as Kabinett, Spätlese, or off-dry, semi-sweet on the label.

INDIAN FOOD

Unlike Thai, Indian is a denser, thicker flavour profile. Its richness comes from hours of cooking with a more earthy set of spices, these provide a very distinct experience. The classic non-alcoholic beverage is the Lassi, a yogurt based fruit driven, beverage. It is magical with that heavy earthy spice that lives and breathes in all Indian meals.

Given Indian is a full bodied meal, so too we should pair with a comparable wine. Of course this wine must be sweet to some degree, and chilled! For us, our experience steers us towards a robust off-dry white, or a chilled full bodied, smooth and fruity red.

Don't be afraid, chill that fruity red wine!

MEXICAN FOOD

Mexican spices are most famous for pairing with cool refreshing beers with hints of lime or lemon, bitey & ferocious tequila or smokey  mezcal. You can follow the general rule of red for red meats and white for white meats, again we want some residual sugars to deal with the spice kick. What's notable though is the large addition of greenery in some Mexican dishes which lends itself to wines with a herbaceous quality.

We like to look at Rose and Sparkling and Sherry options for the Mexican. Lower alcohol levels also advised, gulping down a full bodied wine is not helpful. Serve chilled!

CHINESE FOOD

Chinese food arrives on the palate with a more oily texture than its counter parts. This oiliness can range from low levels of oils to immense, as found in the brilliant Sichuan Hot Pot – thick, unctuous and hot.

We therefore need to look to wines that can cut through the oils, to provide the balance. A Sharper more acidic white, dry style, works very well. Its natural acids provide that cut through. For those who enjoy fruitier wines then a white or a red, chilled, with some level of sweetness is ideal.

Chinese can offer a substantial journey too, being one of the great cuisines of the world, we can work our way up from humble lamb pancakes through to lobster and rare cuts of beef.

Apart from the wines recommended for Thai and Indian you can look to the four listed below as ideal for the non-spicy Chinese meals. 

JAPANESE FOOD

Japanese in many ways is the cleanest, freshest and leanest of the meals here. Austere, refined and delicate, the pairing of wine is very different to any of the previous mentioned cuisines.

From the incredible, simple and delicate sashimi or nigiri dishes through to the vibrant tones of an udon noodle soup. Japanese is largely fresh, simple and honest at its heart and can reach dizzying heights of culinary delight in epic ingredients such as tuna belly or abalone.

To this then we apply simpler more restrained wines, those that don’t compete with the meal. Sake is of course simply wonderful, chilled, perfumed and ranging from dry to fruity, it serves as a good baseline for selecting your wines.

We have sorted out a range of delightful whites and a pinot noir from sancerre to tempt you.

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