Tricky pairings: Asian Cuisine


Spice up your life!

Pairing wine and spicy food is a notoriously tricky task, the many layers of flavours in Caribbean, African, Asian and South American cuisines often very difficult to merge with many classic wine styles. People often just sticking to an easier beer.

However, once you know how, pairing something spicy with wine is easy! Following a few simple rules when helping your customers pick a wine that will be perfect for their meal.


1. Avoid high alcohol.

The wines most suited to spicy flavours are those that are medium to low in alcohol, wines that are refreshing, and wines with crisp acidity.

Wines with high alcohol levels negatively accentuate heat, whereas crisp acidity provides an enhancing contrast to both ‘heat’ and ‘richness’, whilst lifting the many layers of flavour in the dish. Just like squeezing a lemon over a finished dish to enhance the flavours.


2. Oak is a no no.

Strong oak flavours dull the complex characteristics in spicy food. Stick to something crisp, acidic and light.


3. Favour fruity, aromatic and off-dry wines.

A popular choice for spicy cuisine, off-dry wines with a higher residual sugar are best for complementing and enhancing flavour. The sweetness offers a contrast to the spice (think sweet and sour) balancing out the heat and showcasing the different flavours in a dish.

Many great examples can be found in our Alsace and German and Austrian selection. Such as the JB Adam Gewürztraminer or the Gruner Veltliner `Gaisberg` from Austria. Or for something a bit different try the Mt Difficulty Pinot Gris, fruity and unoaked and slightly off dry. Perfect with a weekday curry.


4. Don't be afraid of Reds.

Something a bit more complicated but definitely plausible, a lighter style of red wine can easily go well with many spice dishes. The same principles apply, looking out for alcohol levels as well as tannin, ensuring you pick fruity wines with decent levels of acidity to complement the spice.

We would recommend avoiding classic red Bordeaux wines or Malbecs, far too high in alcohol. Instead focusing on a wonderful Barbera from Italy like our Tenuta Nierano Barbera d`Asti Superiore or a lovely light Beaujolais like our 'La Vauxonne` Jacques Charlet both of which should work well with most spicy foods.