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Dec 22, 2013 02:09 PM

Indian food for Christmas dinner. Your wine pairing/rec?

It's just my husband and I for the holidays so instead of doing a traditional Thanksgiving meal, we've decided to make a massive vegan Indian feast instead.

On the menu: vegetable biryani, saag aloo, chana masala, garlic naan, and either gulab jamun or halwa for dessert.

Cursory search indicates that for spicy Indian food (and it's gonna be spicy), a refreshing lager is your best bet and were it not the holidays, I'd be inclined to agree, but as it is the holidays, we'd like something a little classier.

We live in Quebec where really good wine is not hard to find and our budget is $30 max.

Help from the Hive Mind?

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  1. In general, your best matches will be riesling and gewurztraminer. With a "$30 max" budget, you will find better value in rieslings....

    If buying german, the best 3 recent vintages are 2011, 2009, and 2007... specify "kabinett" to your wine vendor.

    Also totally disagree with the "refreshing lager"... much better try a straight wheat beer (german hefe-weizen for example)... matching beer with food is tricky, but the spicier it is, the more definitive the match with wheat beer.

    Enjoy and please report back.

    1 Reply
    1. re: TombstoneShadow

      Totally agree with the white wine selections, but prefer a Shiraz with Indian

    2. Well, when you say spicy I’m assuming you mean chili heat.

      However chilis are not hot but cause a burning sensation through irritation and some people are more sensitive to that sensation than others. The more you have them, the more you need to get the same effect and that it can become somewhat addictive. Some find unbearable what others can hardly detect.

      Because chilis are not hot, cold drinks don’t do more than give an impression of relief to those who find the sensation too much.

      Those who find chilis too hot cannot taste anything other than their ‘heat’. Those that are used to, and love the sensation, can and do appreciate other flavours.

      There’s some credible arguments that tannin emphasises chilli ‘heat’ while sweetness alleviates it. Thus off dry white wines are usually recommended. But if you like the effect, why would you want to diminish it? And if you don’t like it then remove or lessen the amount of chilis.

      Often gewürztraminer is recommended for no good reason other that it has ‘spicy’ in its name, although it would often fulfil the non-tannic off-dry category.

      So really it comes back to you. It seems to me from your post you’re people who like the sensation of chilis and that you will be able to appreciate other favours including wine.

      So my boring advice is to have what you normally enjoy. For me, that would be a big fruity red – syrah/grenache/mouvedre blend, pinotage, carignan, zinfandel etc

      1. Actually -- a Champagne would go well -- Champagne goes well with crispy, spicy, and oily-- and your meal satisfies at least two of those (possible the third, especially if you're serving something like samosas)

        1. Dry Pinot Gris from Alsace or Oregon works very well with 80% of the Indian culinary repertoire. Dry Gezurztraminer with the rest.

          Leave the red wine on the shelf. The tannins will clash with Indian spicing.

          Asian food is white wine country.