Wines to match spicy Asian dishes

Finding the right wine to accompany a spicy dish can be quite tricky. Get it wrong and your more heat-sensitive diners won't thank you for it- heavily oaked wines or those with a high tannin level can are certainly best avoided, as they can add to the heat rather than provide a cooling contrast. On the other hand, you don't want to serve a wine that will be completely overpowered by the strong flavors of the food.

However, get the pairing right and a good wine choice can make a pleasant meal into something really special. There are plenty of wonderful (and reasonably priced) wines that go beautifully with richly spiced Asian dishes. With a little help you should be able to get all the information you need from the label on the back of the bottle, but here are a few suggestions to get you started:

1. Vegetable samosas and Dr Loosen Riesling

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A good veggie samosa is a masterpiece of spices and flavors, wrapped in just enough pastry to deliver a satisfying crunch. A Riesling is usually a good fall-back choice for a spicy meal, and Dr Loosen Estate make a very good Mosel that will complement but not compete with this classic entrée. If you need a wine for tonight's dinner and can't get
your hands on something from Dr Loosen, any sweeter Riesling will work too.

2. Seafood laksa and Allan Scott Gewurztraminer

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Laksa has a reputation as a particularly hot choice and this is often the case. It may also have a slightly smoky flavor, which always calls for extra care when finding a wine. Gewurztraminer is a fairly sweet wine with fruity notes and it does the job very well. If you can't get Allan Scott (a New Zealand estate producing particularly good wines at the moment), Kayena Estate in Tasmania also make Gewurztraminer with the right characteristics.

3. Satay beef and Margaret River Pinot Noir

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Meaty curries call for wines that can stand up for themselves and won't be drowned out by big flavors. The Pinot Noir coming out of Western Australia's Margaret River region fits the bill perfectly. Although this part of the world is making a name for itself with international wine dealers (and is widely available almost anywhere), there are still a wide variety of excellent budget-friendly options. Look for Pierro or Leeuwin Estate for preference, but Margaret River generally means good quality.

4. Spicy chicken curry and Valle Perdido Chardonnay

Wine, Food, ASIA, Asian Dishes, Vegetable Samosas, Dr. Loosen Riesling, Seafood Laksa, Allan Scott Gewurztraminer, Satay Beef, Margaret River Pinot Noir, Spicy Chicken Curry, Valle Perdido Chardonnay, Food ASIA, Food Tips,


For milder curry dishes (kormas for example, or anything with yoghurt), you'll want a sweeter wine so Riesling and Gewurztraminer are favorites, but when spice levels start to rise something fairly robust is the order of the day. Valle Perdido Chardonnay is an excellent new world wine that often has a tiny price tag. It's a good safe choice if you're not sure what to serve with spicy chicken and also works well with smoky flavors. If you can't find Valle Perdido, pick a Chardonnay without mention of acid, oak, or tannin in the tasting notes on the label.

About the Author:
Jess writes for Fine Wines Direct UK, a British retailer with a wide selection of Reisling and other wines suitable for serving with spicy foods.

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