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Has anyone ever found a red wine that works with spicy (Thai / Indian) food?

  • c

I guess something really light bodied like a Beaujolais might work.

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  1. I basically think wine sucks with Thai/Indian...Beer is better... for wine, my choice would be a Vino Verde or an Alsatian....stay away from anything very dry, veer toward fruity....

    1 Reply
    1. re: fauchon

      I must respectfully disagree. Zinfandel and Petite Sirah (not Syrah) stand up very well and can eompliment a Thai dining experience. Goes great with Tjhai ribs, BBQ chicken and Pad Thai. That food is often sweet ( such as the pad thai) and to then pair it against a really fruity or sweet white just doesn't work for me.

    2. What about a cheap Aussie Shiraz?

      1. A chinon can work with some of the food, depending on what you order. I like it with pork and beef dishes that veer more towards spicy than sweet.

        1. I've never found a red that works well, even Zin. Tried again recently, with a bunch of opened wines to choose from. Blech! Still think an off-dry white works best...or beer.

          1. Interesting question...

            I don't want to get too complex here but...

            There's an interesting spillover effect sometimes... if you have a GREAT white wine match and a FAIR red wine match... if you serve them both at the same meal, the red wine match is enhanced by the white wine. Everyone ooh's and ahhs over the white match and they think "this red isn't too bad either"...

            Again, this assumes that there's a fair connection to the cuisine by the red wine varietal int he first place.

            And when we're speaking of Indian and Thai, those are really quite different cuisines... and generally if you're just going to serve one wine, it should be a white with both of them. Riesling and Gewurztraminer are great matches.

            Now, assuming you're serving one or both of these whites, you could have a glass of zinfandel or grenache as your "secondary" red behind the white(s). Both seem to handle fairly complex seasoning mixtures fairly well, especially when they are not from a lean year. This would hold especially true if you served a red-meat dish, more common for Indian cuisine, such as a lamb or goat biryani or vindaloo, or a thai pork pad-phrik, grilled pork-neck, etc.... But I wouldn't have them as the main wine with either of these cuisines.... just as a back-up to enrichen the overall taste spectrum and match a few specific dishes.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Chicago Mike

              Interesting answer.... ;) I assume you serve the white first and then the red?

              1. re: cimui

                I'd serve them both simultaneously. Have a glass of each in front of each diner.

            2. Gewurztraminer has worked best for me, and the cheap stuff was fine.

              1. We have had good results pairing a Sangiovese with Thai Cuisine.

                For white wines, consider a Viognier.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Greg P.

                  Agood zinfandel will work as will a bottle of Domaines Ott....love that rose with spicy food!!

                  1. re: bac528

                    I agree that white wines like Reisling are your best bet. (Gruner Veltliner might be interesting to try too) Roses are always forgiving and always worth a try. Champagne or other sparkling wines are a reasonable shot as they are also forgiving. But reds compete too much with the spices of these cuisines, and only match with a few selected dishes (even my beloved Zin and Shiraz). If you want to drink red with these and other Asian cuisines, go ahead, but don't spend too much money on the bottle. Two-buck-Chuck (which I'll happily drink, what a great deal) is ideal.

                2. Thanks, all. Our favorite matches are, indeed, gruner / reisling / gewurztraminer / cava (or even better, a light-bodied beer).

                  I was just curious whether a red wine could match, too, after a friend we had over for dinner the other night insisted on having red wine with the Thai food that I'd made. (She doesn't like beer and we'd drunk our last bottle of gewurz the night before.) I couldn't think of anything that'd really do well, so I just opened a tempranillo and let her go at it while my SO and I had coronas with lime.

                  Haven't tried the vinho verde. That sounds good.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: cimui

                    White Vinho Verde can be excellent, even better than the knee-jerk Riesling and Gew├╝rztraminer. If you can find a bottle, red Vinho Verde might be worth a shot. While I've not tried it, I wonder whether Bugey Cerdon, the Savoie's off-dry, low-alcohol light red bubbly made from Gamay and, sometimes, Poulsard, mightn't work. That said, another red bubbly, sparkling Shiraz, didn't work at all when I tried it with a curried lamb shank.

                    1. re: carswell

                      Sparkling Shiraz... I have a bottle that I bought as a novelty, and I'm wondering, what does it go with? I was thinking of offering it as a summer time apperitif, or to go with outdoor grilled foods. Any other suggestions? And I am assuming it should be served slightly chilled?

                      1. re: moh

                        Yes, serve chilled but not cold. The cheaper (and usually sweeter) sparkling Shirazes are best with antipasti, grilled chicken and picnic fare. The traditional match, especially for the drier, more expensive versions, is turkey with all the trimmings. Lamb and duck are popular, too.

                      2. re: carswell

                        That's fascinating! Red vinho verde?? I'll have to look for this.

                        1. re: carswell

                          Poulsard, Trousseau and Arbois Pinot Noir work reasonably well will a few Thai meat based dishes like Mussaman beef, grilled pork neck, etc. But I think that the high acid, limey, fish saucey dishes fair better with a crisp white.

                          Indian food on the other hand can work really well with red wine. Of course it all depends on the dishes. Seekh Kabab and and other meats from the tandoor work nicely with Cotes du Rhones, Cru Beaujolais, Loire reds and even the occasional Barbera or Dolcetto. I've also found that old reds (in some cases really old reds) are quite smashing with most Indian and Pakistani cuisine. I have no qualms about opening up a 20+ year old Barolo or Babaresco, and on ocasion have pulled the cork on a 30 or 40+ year old Bordeaux with Karahi Ghosht at my favorite Hyderabadi BYOB joint.

                      3. Friday the San Francisco Chronicle did an article on wines that pair well with Thai food. SFGate.com/wine/

                        1. Yes. A super crisp Sauv Blanc from New Zealand will do the trick. Something like Cloudy Bay or Kim Crawford cuts the richness of the food and also cools the heat somewhat. I think its a perfect balance.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: thomtompkins

                            Absolutely! I've found crisp whites to be a much better match for thai than reds in general. And New Zealand Sauvignon blanc has that nice tropical fruit thing going on that works really well with thai coconut milk-based curries. I remember being really surprised at how well it worked.

                            1. re: Behemoth

                              I just noticed you were specifically asking for a red. What you might try is changing the type of food according to the wine. I could see some dishes, like massaman curry with beef, for example (not typically "hot" spicy but with lots of warm spices), being a better match for a red wine. With that I would try maybe a Shiraz?

                          2. I haven't tried red, but a lot of roses match really well.

                            1. I haven't tried this, but I'd think a Lambrusco would work really well.

                              Other fizzy, fragrant (but acidic) whites that would be fun to try with Thai and Indian food... txakoli and malagousia...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: daveena

                                In my experience, the heat from the chilis in either Thai or Indian cooking mutes the flavours of the wine, white or red, to the point where I question why I am drinking a highly nuanced beverage such as wine. Give me an IPA with either cuisine any day of the week over wine.

                                1. re: anewton

                                  Next time, instead of IPA try a WHEAT BEER...

                                  We've done beer and thai tastings with IPAs, Wheats, Barleywines, etc...

                                  The wheat beers match best almost everytime... it's the banana/clove/lemon flavor notes that seem to do it. A great go-to beer for spicy Asian is the basic Paulaner Hefe Weisse.,... it's really heavy on the clove and a great match... served it once at a tasting that featured a spectrum of German and Alsatian wines and it showed well even among tough competition .

                              2. I'm bumping the thread, as my comment isn't quite on topic for a more recent thread.

                                Sunday evening, we grabbed some take-away form our local Indo-Pakistani hole-in-the-wall. We had channa masala, lamb saag, and naan. What to open? We went for the 2002 Scali Pinotage. By itself it's a lovely wine, but more to the point in this case, it had the fruit-sweetness to stand up to the spices, ginger root, and coriander leaf, while having the depth complement the earthiness of the lamb, spinach, and chickpeas.

                                1. Edna Valley Paragon Syrah 2004 - the brief note I wrote to myself about this was that the flavors of chocolate, fruits and tannins in the wine went really well with what we ate.

                                  Just about a year ago, we were on a road trip and had a red wine with an Indian meal that went really well together. It was at an Indian restaurant in Santa Barbara on State Street. I think we had a spicy lamb with potatoes dish and a creamy chicken, probably something like a tikka. We were debating what to order to drink and the server suggested it. We were apprehensive, but the server convinced us, and we were really happy with the pairing.

                                  I'm glad this topic resurfaced. I'm going to have to try this again and see if that night was a one-off or repeatable.