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Mar 30, 2012 10:22 AM

Red wine with Thai Green Curry?

I'm making a thai green curry with chicken for dinner tonight- but both my guests are red wine drinkers (they flat out don't drink white). What red can I serve with green curry? From what I've read it seems a Zinfandel or Syrah is best bet...any particular one (under $25 preferred) anyone would suggest?

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  1. Any beefy red would work well - I'm thinking particularly Malbec, maybe also Shiraz.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kagemusha49

      Not sure any beefy red would work. Thai Green Curry (with coconut milk) will be v. sweet and v. spicy. If they won't even drink, sparkling.

      A very soft, low-alcoholic bright red would be your best bet. Maybe a new world pinot?

      1. re: jlbwendt

        I was gonna suggest maybe a sparkling rose.

      2. Have your guests ever had Thai food before? If so, ask them what red wine they prefer to drink with it. People who don't drink a certain color of wine "on principle" (don't know what else to call it since most helth-related aversions are to reds, not whites) don't have a right to be particularly choosy IMO.

        I hope you plan to have a white for yourself. If so, suggest they try each wine with the food, and see what they like better.

        1. I went with Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz 2009 and they both liked it. I'm pregnant, which added to the complexity of my question as I couldn't try for myself!

          1. Yeah I understand your friend's preference for red but it leaves little room for pairing due to the tannins inherent in most red wines. Tannins and heat are considered a poor combination.
            In my experience people with rigid preferences usually aren't interested in a proper pairing anyway. So just have on hand what they like and don't stress over it.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Chinon00

              Right. Rigid preferences = wine is just an alcoholic beverage. Leaves little room for actually considering it as part of the meal.

              1. re: Brad Ballinger

                Appreciate that this is a fairly old post now but I thought I would mention that "Wines of Chile" (the promotional body for Chilean wine) are currently pushing the grape variety Carmenere as the perfect match for curry. Some bottles in the UK are coming with a little yellow card wrapped around them with the slogan "Curry & Carmenere - The perfect combination".

                1. re: IndependentWine

                  Yeah, well, sayin' it doesn't it make so.

                  A marketing attempt to tap the London Indian market.

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    not to mention that "curry" is a term that covers a whole lot of territory and flavors, food-wise. It is not a one-note flavor or dish....

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      And I misspoke...should have said the thriving UK Pan-Asian food scene.
                      But the marketing strategy is still a trumped-up claim to sell wine.

                    2. re: IndependentWine

                      I think this is a good suggestion. I found one time that a chilled Chinon
                      went very well with a Thai dinner at a restaurant in Paris. Since Chinon
                      (cab franc) and carmenere have the same veggie taste, I would
                      expect that carmenere would also be a good match.

                      1. re: IndependentWine

                        I've been thinking about this post, as I eat a lot of curry during the week and was curious about less traditional wine pairings. I read on a Ridge blog that the writer liked Carignane with Thai green curry. So the experiment:

                        The wine: Meli Carignan 2010
                        Alcoholic nose. First tastes on the palate thin, acidic, tannic with a spicy finish and some heat from the alcohol. As it opened up, dark fruits came through, but still dominated by acids/tannins/alcohol/spices. Suffice to say, not my favorite on its own.

                        The food:

                        Butter Chicken (medium spicy); The wine went very well. The cream in the curry helped make up for the thinness and marked acidity of the wine. The tomatoes in the sauce went well with the acidity in the wine. The spices in the curry complimented the spiciness of the food. The wine tasted better with the curry.

                        Thai Yellow Curry (medium spicy): This was the worst pairing of the night. The yellow curry spices did not go well with the dark fruits in the wine, the sweetness of the coconut milk was jaring against the acids and tannins. The spices in the wine and the curry clashed.

                        Thai Green Curry (hot spicy): Interesting contrast pairing. The green notes, and bellpepper, brought out the fruit in the wine, and the greens of the curry. The spices of the wine and curry melded. However, the end was still a clash with the sweetness of the coconut milk, and the intense heat of the curry, clashing with the tannins and alcohol.

                        Chicken Tikka Masala (medium): Went excellently, even better than the butter chicken. The more intense flavors of the Tikka Masala went well against the dark fruits. The cream was still there to cut the acidity and tannins. Tomatoes and spices of the curry went well with the wine.

                        End Verdict: With cream based curries, Carignane can be a nice pairing as long as the chili heat is somewhat in check. With sweeter, coconut milk based curries, the pairing looses its footing, especially with the milder, less assertive curries.

                        1. re: goldangl95

                          Thanks for that experiment, goldang!
                          I am not much of a curry eater these days, but I do love Butter Chicken and Tikka Masala. I will give this a try.

                    3. re: Chinon00

                      I agree completely. If one insists on a red wine, when a white, or a sparkler would go better, serve them what you have handy - maybe a gifted wine, and tell them that THAT wine was the one recommended. They will not know the difference.