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ISO wine to go with Indian food...

fauchon Sep 21, 2009 02:50 PM

We usually drink Alsatians but wonder if there are other good pairings?

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  1. t
    tmso RE: fauchon Sep 21, 2009 03:11 PM

    I like wine with Indian food, yes, much like how I like wine with Italian food. Yes, there are other good pairings.

    1. goodhealthgourmet RE: fauchon Sep 21, 2009 03:12 PM

      it depends on the dish...spices, heat level, presence or absence of dairy or acidic ingredients like tomatoes...they all affect how a wine will play off the food (as does the alcohol level of the wine). if you really enjoy the Alsatians and want something relatively comparable, a white from the Alto Aldige region of Italy is probably a good bet...but i think requesting a "good pairing" for an entire cuisine is just too broad.

      9 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
        maria lorraine RE: goodhealthgourmet Sep 21, 2009 07:00 PM

        As GHG says, the individual Indian dish will lead the pairing in a certain direction, especially with the givens of some spiciness and moderate heat.

        The best pairings for me are off-dry Rieslings (German, Alsatian, Austrian), Gruner Veltliner, and my new favorite: Roussanne. Would never have expected it, but Rousanne has worked wonderfully. Also, Rosé, Champagne, Grenache/Garnacha.

        1. re: maria lorraine
          cookie44 RE: maria lorraine Sep 22, 2009 11:49 AM

          No specific suggestions but wanted to chime in on the general idea of pairing with off-dry Rieslings. Gewurtztraminers can work as well.

          1. re: maria lorraine
            Bill Hunt RE: maria lorraine Sep 29, 2009 09:31 PM

            Oops, you stole my thunder. Rosé Champage is almost a universal. I should know to look for any ML posts, before I reply...

            Take care,


            1. re: maria lorraine
              greedygirl RE: maria lorraine Oct 9, 2009 11:58 AM

              Rousanne is my new favourite too. Interesting to hear that it goes well with Indian food.

            2. re: goodhealthgourmet
              oolah RE: goodhealthgourmet Sep 22, 2009 08:26 AM

              Yep, it depends on the dish, but I've had success with off-dry Vouvray with the spicier dishes.

              1. re: oolah
                Melanie Wong RE: oolah Sep 22, 2009 11:53 PM

                Yes, there's something about Vouvray and chenin blanc that goes well with garam masala especially in vegetable dishes. I also like champagne.

                And, with lamb curry, Petite Sirah. This always seems to surprise people, you gotta try it.

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                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  tmso RE: Melanie Wong Sep 23, 2009 12:46 AM

                  Petite Sirah is a good match with lamb, so that sounds like a good match to me. Myself, I like Châteauneuf-du-Pape with rogan josh.

                  1. re: tmso
                    Melanie Wong RE: tmso Sep 23, 2009 12:53 AM

                    Petite Sirah is also complimentary to Thai curries, both meat and vege, so the marriage is more about spices than the meat to me. You might want to try Viognier/Condrieu with rogan josh some time, amazing how it amplifies the flavors.

                  2. re: Melanie Wong
                    oolah RE: Melanie Wong Sep 23, 2009 06:49 PM

                    Oh and even better than just regular Vouvray would be *sparkling* Vouvray. There's a lot of bad sparkling Vouvray out there, but Champalou and Pinon both make very good versions.

              2. Bill Hunt RE: fauchon Sep 29, 2009 09:30 PM

                Since India is a vast country, with varied cuisine, I doubt that any one wine will suit all. Still, you Alsatians should work with many. I am also a fan of GR Rieslings too. Still, there are too many possibilities. If I had to pick one wine to go with all, it would be a Rosé Champagne.



                1. hcbk0702 RE: fauchon Sep 29, 2009 09:41 PM

                  For spicier Indian dishes, a young German Auslese Riesling can be a perfect match. The higher prädikats pair much better than dry Rieslings.

                  1. l
                    linalool RE: fauchon Sep 30, 2009 11:42 AM

                    while dishes and styles vary from north to south, it can be said that the texture and weight remain a constant. to pair on the basis of aromati\cs is a futile exercise seeing as a indian kitchen uses masalas, or spice mixtures, rather than one or two predominant flavours. as wel, indian cuisine is served to share, meaning that the challlenge isnt in matching one dish but finding one wine to weave through the lot. textural matches such as a viscous pinot gris are a good bet. the relatively toned down nose also helps to limit clashing.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: linalool
                      Bill Hunt RE: linalool Sep 30, 2009 09:12 PM

                      I do agree that most Indian dishes are served to share, I still work towards each dish with a wine. Yes, there can be much overlap, but my guests usually have several glasses in front of them. Each wine was an attempt to pair with each dish, but there is nothing to be lost by doing a mix-n-match. Tamrind in Mayfair loves me for this, as they sell 4-5 bottles per dining experience.

                      Now, tell me more about the PG. Maybe I have just not experienced the right one(s). Sounds interesting, and you make a case for it. Tell me which one(s) I should include in my mix, please.



                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                        linalool RE: Bill Hunt Oct 1, 2009 12:19 AM

                        anything from zind-humbrecht should do the trick.

                      2. re: linalool
                        Melanie Wong RE: linalool Sep 30, 2009 10:03 PM

                        I like the idea of a viscous PG. I love PG VT with wild game, and could see it working with the intensity of meat curries.

                      3. w
                        whiner RE: fauchon Oct 3, 2009 08:42 AM

                        I will give the obnoxious answer first. BEER. Honestly, in terms of ideal pairings, no wine will work as well as beer.

                        That said, Champagnes and other sparklers, off-dry Riesling, Scheurebe, Gewurz, and Pinot Gris.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: whiner
                          dgris RE: whiner Oct 3, 2009 03:55 PM

                          I am with whiner on this one. A good IPA .
                          Also for pise, Moretti.

                          1. re: dgris
                            Chinon00 RE: dgris Oct 3, 2009 07:58 PM

                            Why IPA?

                          2. re: whiner
                            BobB RE: whiner Oct 22, 2009 12:58 PM

                            Even better than beer: a good hard cider. Quaffable like beer but the extra hint of sweetness is a perfect foil for spicy Indian food (and yes, I know not all Indian food is spicy - but all the stuff I order is!)

                          3. MMRuth RE: fauchon Oct 9, 2009 11:03 AM

                            This month for the Cookbook of the Month on the Home Cooking board, those participating are cooking from two Indian books. I'm having a small dinner tonight (well, just three of us, with too much food), and would love some wine suggestions. In restaurants I do usually get a riesling or gewurtztramminer, but was thinking that a red might be nice for tonight with the lamb. The dishes aren't particularly spicy. I'd prefer between $15 to $20 for tonight.

                            Lamb Braised in Aromatic Cream Sauce (Rogani Gosht), p. 164
                            Saffron Rice with Peaches (Zaffrani Pullao), p. 371
                            Gujerati-style Green Beans (mustard seed, red chile, garlic)
                            Smoked Eggplant with Fresh Herbs (Bharta), p. 305
                            Hot Hyderabad Tomato Relish (Hyderabadi Tamatar Chutney), p. 441
                            Grated Cucumber Relish
                            Maybe a raita - haven't gotten there yet.

                            Thank you.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: MMRuth
                              carswell RE: MMRuth Oct 9, 2009 12:18 PM

                              I've not had much luck pairing reds with Indian foods (actually, I've not had much luck pairing wine with Indian food) but that won't stop me from suggesting that you avoid big, tannic, high-alcohol reds, since the wine and food seem to bring out the worst in each other.

                              Look for reds that are light, supple and fluid or that are soft and fruity, not necessarily bone dry and best served lightly chilled. For light and supple, think Gamay from the Loire, Red Pif (a bistro wine from the Languedoc), Dôle from Switzerland, basic Kekfrancos from Hungary (Szekszardi is a good, cheap bet), etc. For soft and fruity, Graillot's Tandem (a Syrah from Morocco), an unpretentious Petite Sirah (Red Truck, Bogle, Parducci) or Glen Carlou's Tortoise Hill Red (a South African blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Shiraz, Tempranillo and Merlot), etc.

                              1. re: carswell
                                MMRuth RE: carswell Oct 9, 2009 12:26 PM

                                Thank you very much, carswell. I've forwarded this to my husband to guide him so that I can finish cooking! I think we'll get a bottle of white as well, so that we can compare and contrast.

                                1. re: MMRuth
                                  greedygirl RE: MMRuth Oct 9, 2009 12:33 PM

                                  I'd be inclined to try a light red as well - we've enjoyed a red Anjou recently which might do the trick. In England, people generally drink beer with Indian - Cobra or Kingfisher if you're going for the native brands.

                                  1. re: MMRuth
                                    Rubee RE: MMRuth Oct 9, 2009 09:36 PM

                                    I just started reading Sahni tonight. On p. 95, she discusses what to drink with an Indian meal. Her suggestions for wine are Sangria "as a luncheon beverage", rosé with tandoori and dishes with cream or yogurt, Chianti or Burgundy "for dishes in onion and tomato gravy", and Chablis for seafood and appetizers.

                                    1. re: Rubee
                                      Chinon00 RE: Rubee Oct 10, 2009 06:31 AM

                                      Thanks for that. Very well thought out.

                                      1. re: Rubee
                                        alanbarnes RE: Rubee Oct 10, 2009 07:03 AM

                                        Don't know what Sahni had in mind when she wrote that, but it did strike me when I read it that the book was written 30 years ago, when "Burgundy" and "Chablis" were, for many Americans, the two major styles of wine produced by E&J Gallo.

                                        1. re: alanbarnes
                                          Rubee RE: alanbarnes Oct 10, 2009 11:11 AM

                                          Though in her book, she does mention French Burgundy.....

                                          I also mentioned that as the recipes MMRuth were using for her dinner party were Sahni dishes from the same book - "Classic Indian Cooking".

                                      2. re: MMRuth
                                        greedygirl RE: MMRuth Oct 10, 2009 06:34 AM

                                        What did you have in the end?

                                      3. re: carswell
                                        shaogo RE: carswell Oct 10, 2009 07:12 AM

                                        I could see Bogle's Petite Sirah being a great match with full-flavored and complex Indian food!

                                    2. shaogo RE: fauchon Oct 10, 2009 07:11 AM

                                      There's a vineyard in the Nandi Hills of India called Grover Vineyards. They've been producing world-class wine for years, now. I've had their "clairette" and it just hits the nail on the head when paired with curries (or Sichuan food, for that matter). They also make an off-dry rose that's delightful with the same cuisine.

                                      Absent a wine shop that can get Grover wines for you, I'd go with a lovely Gruner Veltliner (my favorite is Hoepler -- tasty, restrained, and a bargain).

                                      1. MMRuth RE: fauchon Oct 23, 2009 02:55 AM

                                        Thank you everyone for your suggestions - my husband was too tired to read and follow the suggestions I sent him! We ended up drinking a Spanish granache that our guest brought - the wine was v. good & reasonably priced, and recommended by the owner of Crossroads. We're doing another dinner tomorrow night, so I'll see if I can do better this time!

                                        1. a
                                          arlenemae RE: fauchon Oct 30, 2009 04:57 PM

                                          Anyone have suggestions for South Indian food in particular?

                                          Will be going to a dinner party next weekend where my friends will cook mainly South Indian dishes (all vegetarian). Since the food will be lighter in general, I'm guessing the wine may be different from the kind of wine that goes with heavy, meaty curries...any advice?

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