Pairing the right wine with the right dish can definitely make all the difference in the world when it comes to your overall dining experience. A red wine that goes fabulously with lamb might not go so well with spicy fish or braised steak. Whenever you have a hot dish with some heat to it, quite often you will be in much better shape if you search for a spicy red wine so that a complimentary flavour is created that will enhance your meal instead of clashing with it.
Spicy Food Challenges
In terms of wine pairing, spicy food can create its own unique challenges, particularly if you prefer having a solid red instead of an over-sweet white wine. Spicy dishes not only have their own layers of flavour that need to be considered, but a wine can easily clash with some spicy dishes by either being too overpowering or too bitter. Obviously, this would detract from the overall meal as well as the wine.
It is critical to address these specific challenges directly in order to create a great pairing that will enhance your overall dining experience. Not too long I had a great pairing when I used this advice and ordered a crisp Zinfandel with my favorite Indian takeaway in Loughborough.
Things You Should Avoid
In general, when you are pairing a spicy hot dish and red wine, be sure to avoid going with a higher alcohol option in addition to any red wine that has been aged in oak. They aren’t bad as a standalone wine at all. However, red wine that has both or one of these characteristics will usually be an overpowering or poor choice when paired with a spicy dish.
In this situation the best red wine option will be on the fruity side for complimenting the spice, be aromatic, and off dry in some cases for creating the right kind of contrast. Also, search for a wine that is light and crisp compared to main red that are available.
Some Great Options
In most cases, any red wine following the previous section’s do’s and don’ts will most likely do great. However, if you need to have a few basic types or names, the following are great starting points.
Beaujolais are red wines with a heavy fruit focus that frequently pair nicely with spicy foods. It is also more likely that you will be able to find a good Zinfandel or Merlot compared to a Cabernet Sauvignon. Any spicy flavoured dish that is also smoky will often go well with a moderate Malbec.
Vouvray, Viognier and Albarino are three other great examples of red wines that are noted for being fruity but not tannin-heavy or too strong. They frequently pair nicely with spicier dishes. Although those are all great starting points, it is still important to look at specific bottles of wine to find ones that are heavier in fruit flavour and lighter in alcohol in order to get a great pairing.
Following the basic rules and doing some research can help you discover the perfect red wine for pairing with even the spiciest, hottest dishes.