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What would you drink with a spicy goulash?

The typical dish -- beef, paprika, etc. -- over egg noodles. A light-bodied red comes to mind, but I'm wondering whether some good choices could be a little counterintuitive, maybe a regionally appropriate white.

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  1. Your first thoughts are good ones. Reach for a lighter-styled Zinfandel (Do they make them any more? Martini used to.) or a Zweiglet, Blaufrankish or St-Laurent from Austria. There are bound to be other eastern European reds that would do the trick, though I'm woefully ignorant of them.

      1. What about Tokaji? It's from Hungary, goulasch is the national dish of Hungary...

        3 Replies
        1. re: torta basilica

          Tokaji is a (botrysized) dessert wine and does not go well with savoury cooked foods (aside from some cheeses) and would be especially disastrous with an american-ized goulash/gulyas.

          1. re: vlad

            That's just the stuff we mainly get in the US - they actually do produce some dry wines & they can be found in the States if you look:

            From Wikipedia:

            Dry Wines: These wines, once referred to as ordinárium, are now named after their respective grape varieties: Tokaji Furmint, Tokaji Hárslevelu and Tokaji Sárgamuskotály.

            Szamorodni: (Slovak: samorodné) This type of wine was initially known as főbor ("prime wine"), but since the 19th century the Polish word szamorodni ("the way it was grown") has been used. What sets Szamorodni apart from ordinary wine is that it is made from bunches which contain a considerable proportion of botrytised grapes. Because of this, szamorodni is typically higher in alcohol and extract than ordinary wine. Szamorodni often contains up to 100-120 g of residual sugar and thus is termed édes ("sweet"). However, when the bunches contain fewer botrytised grapes, the residual sugar content is much lower, resulting in a száraz ("dry") wine. Its alcohol content is typically 14%.

            1. re: torta basilica

              Er....seeing as I speak/read/am Hungarian -- let me once more make the point:

              None of the Tokaji wines would be a good accompaniment to goulash/gulyás. They are all lovely wines with varying degrees of residual sugar --- all tasty --- just not with savoury, heavy foods such as a goulash soup (or stew in non-Hungarian setting).

        2. Speaking of eastern European reds, you might check out Bulls Blood wine from Hungary in addition to the Tokaji mentioned by torta...I found it at local ABC liquors here in Florida recently for under $10 and I really loved it...I think the label said Egervin on it if that's of any help. Cheers!

          1. Bulls Blood is OK for the price but a bit boring. Most of the tokaji you find in the US is dessert wine, and even the rare dry version (furmint) wouldn't be right for goulash.

            The good reds are made from kékoportó (Portugieser), kékfrankos / nagyburgundi (blaufrankisch), and/or zweigelt. All are relatively light. If you can't find them, substitute a similar Austrian red. The Claus zweigelt's a relatively good value (around $16 in California).

            Since you're in DC, you might call the Hugarian embassy and ask them if they can tell you where to find good Hungarian wines.

            1. My #1 choice would be Zweigelt (aka Blauer Zweigelt).

              1. I asked a similar question recently on the Mark Squires board on eRobertParker.com

                1 Reply
                1. re: SteveTimko

                  And of course the answer was to pair it with a Parker-friend, overly extracted, overly alcoholic California wine!

                  To correct their misinformation, a Hungarian, Agoston Haraszthy, is often credited with bringing Zinfandel to California and giving it that name, but the grape's actually from Croatia.

                2. i agree with lauriston on all accts, including his assessment of the parker post. might also suggest riesling auslese or gewurz if you're still thinking about white.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: HeelsSoxHound

                    I would agree with HeelSoxHound, that if you are looking for an non-obvious alternative to red, I wound try reisling (maybe spatlese), gewertz, or even a gruner veltliner would be an interesting paring.

                  2. Roberto, for those who follow the board, is clearly anti-Parker and I don't think his recommendations fall into that category.

                    1. I chime in with the chorus: go Austrian (as it's generally easier to find than Hungarian) I've had two great Blaufrankisch wines recently: Feiler-Artinger Umriss and Wenzel Bandkraften. Braunstein makes good Zweigelt ($10) and very good St.Laurent ($15). Also have had two heartier Austrian red blends- Feiler-Artinger Solitaire and Gsellmann & Gsellmann Pannobile. Bought them all online. You can find them on wine-searcher.com, so hopefully besides online they are available in DC!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: OliveBelle

                        Good call.

                        BTW Blaufrankisch is literally translated into Hungarian as Kékfrankos -- they can be also be found, however most of them are of middling quality.

                      2. A nice dry Gewürztraminer.

                        1. Goulash being spicy and tangy: I just drank a hefty Rhône style Jumilla (03 Altico, 60% Monastrell 40% Syrah) with broiled pork ribs marinated in cider vinegar, garlic, black pepper and jalapeño and the match was very good.

                          1. Why not keep it simple and have an ice cold Pilsner Urquel ???

                              1. Immediate reaction: Beer.
                                Wine Board reaction: How's about a nice riesling? You could also try Gruner Veltliner (with an umlaut over the "u"). If you are thinking reds you could opt for a shiraz or cab franc.

                                Is yours a spicy goulash? That can change the pairing.

                                1. In reds I'd try zinfandel for sure...

                                  But I'd also experiment with some white wines that love "spice": Riesling... Scheurbe... a rich sweetish Gewurztraminer...

                                  1. I would choose a Côtes du Rhône to go with the goulash, or perhaps a Gigondas if you want to spend a few more $$. Tempranillo would also be compatible, I think, tho I haven't tried that.

                                    1. I'd go along with those ideas for Austrian / German whites or fruitier Rhones. Also maybe a southern Italian red? A Malvesia Nera or Negramaro? I'd stay away from too-sweet whites and certainly stay away from big tannic reds as well as ones with noticable new oak. In any case, I'd avoid plunking down big $ for wine with that meal.

                                      1. I'd get a bottle of Thunderbird, chill it to near-freezing, and gulp it all in one pull.

                                        Then, I'd over spice the Goulash to the point where it was damn near inedible, then thank my lucky stars I'm still alive.

                                        Or, I'd just hit up a nice, neutral white maybe. I think with spice I wouldn't want to mirror the spice in the wine pairing unless the spicing of the food were subtle...hmmm.

                                        I usually like beer with spicier foods.