Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Food Matching: Wine & Curry

Curries (in fact spicy foods in general) are notoriously hard to match with wine.
So often people make the mistake of pairing a curry with a heavy red, which just doesn't work at all.

The fact that most Indian Restaurants don't particularly cater for food and wine matching doesn't really help matters but to be fair, it is far from being an Indian tradition.

No, I can't remember ever going to an Indian restaurant that has a list of wines that in any way suit the food that they are serving. This however doesn't mean that there aren't great matches to be made and if you are like me and lucky enough to have a stunning curry-house near by, you can have a great time finding good wines to go with your takeaways.

The key with spicy foods that are full of flavour is to choose a wine that is also full of flavour and aromatic to match the dish. A heavy red wont be too good because it will overpower the delicate spices in the food, however a really gentle white wine will have completely the opposite problem and just wont be enough.

It is at this point that we turn to our trusty friends: the aromatic grapes.

Wines like Riesling, Gewurztraminer and even Viognier are gems for matching with spicier foods. Anything off-dry with a medium body is perfect because they carry just enough weight to hold up against curry. Just think of how delicious it is to have a dollop of mango chutney in your curry: sweet, tangy, aromatic and fruity - exactly what you're looking for in a wine match. You see, it aint rocket science.

If you are a fan or a lightly spiced, creamy curry, such as a Korma or Tikka Masala then you should try this Viognier from the trusty Cono Sur, which is available at Waitrose for £8.29.
This wine is perfect for creamier dishes due to it's medium-dry style and rich flavours. The refreshing acidity is there to hold it all in nicely and keep a balanced structure.

For the slightly more daring, Riesling is great with slightly spicier dishes, such as Rogan Josh or Jalfrezi. These curries are more tomato-based (a fiend when it comes to wine) so a Riesling that is tangy and with plenty of zest is required. Loosen Brothers' "Dr L" Riesling is a perfect match, available at Majestic for £8.49, so it's not too expensive either. Nicely chilled, this will have enough acidity to cut through oily food, enough body to hold up against the powerful curry flavours and enough flavour to be damn delicious!

If you are more of and aromatic Thai Curry fan, Gewurztraminer is the one for you. This is the perfect match for the complexly and deliciously flavoured foods. Gewurztraminer is smooth, delicate and interesting (like me *cough cough*) and the intense, often floral nose on any good glass of Gewurz is like no other wine.

Hugel et fils is a legendary producer in the Alsace region of France and their Gewurztraminer Tradition 2009 is perfect with the most flavoursome and lightly spiced of foods. This one is available at Yorkshire Vintners for £18.60 - the most expensive of my recommendations but it really is good.
Pinot Gris can also work nicely here, as Jo discussed in her post back in May - well worth a read.

If you are into seriously spicy curries - the show off in front of your friends and then spend 2 days on the loo kind - then drink Cobra. And then milk. And probably call an ambulance, you're not looking so good...

What are your favourite wines to drink with Curry? we would love to know. Tell us by commenting below or on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Header image taken from mttsndrs photostream, under the creative commons license.


  1. Zarcillo Gewurztraminer and Thai curry or any fragrant, not-too-creamy curry or chilli dish is literally my FAVOURITE. It's something stupid like £6.20 from The Wine Society. I urge you to try it!