There's no question that the pairing of the right dish with the right wine can make all the difference in your overall meal experience. A red wine that absolutely shines with lamb might not blend so well with braised steak or spicy fish. When you're looking at hot dishes with a little bit of heat to them, you're often in better shape looking at spicy red wine options to create a complimentary flavor that enhances the meal as opposed to clashes with it. Read on to learn more about some of the better options out there.
The Challenge Of Spicy Food
Spicy food creates a unique challenge when it comes to a wine pairing, especially if you prefer a solid red over a possibly over-sweet white. Not only do good spicy dishes have special layers of flavor to take into consideration, but it is very easy for a wine to clash with a spicy dish by being too bitter or too overpowering. Last time i was able to afford to guy a selection of wines as i saved money when i called into a local Indian takeaway near me, where they donât charge restaurant prices! Having a few wine strengths to sample that were not to strong as this obviously would detract from both the wine and the meal overall.
Addressing these particular challenges head on is crucial to being able to create a truly good pairing that enhances the meal experience.
What To Avoid
Generally speaking when pairing a red wine with a spicy hot dish you want to make sure to avoid the higher alcohol options as well as any red that was aged in oak. These aren't bad things at all for a standalone wine but a red wine that has one or both of these characteristics will generally be a poor or overpowering pairing with a spicy dish.
The best red wine selections in this situation will be aromatic, on the fruity side to compliment the spice, and in some cases off dry to create the right type of contrast. You also want to look for a wine that is crisp and light in comparison to the main body of reds that you are going to find out there.
Some Excellent Suggestions
Any red wine that follows the do's and don'ts of the previous section will likely do fine in most cases, but if you need to look at a few basic names or types, the following are good places to start.
Beaujolais are heavily fruit focused red wines that often pair well with spicy foods, and you are more likely to find a good Merlot or Zinfandel as opposed to a Cabernet Sauvignon. If the dish has a spicy flavor that is smoky in nature then it's worth taking a look at some moderate Malbec selections to pair up with the meal.
Albarino, Viognier, and Vouvray are three other examples of good reds that are known for being fruity without being too strong or tannin-heavy and they often can pair well with spicier dishes. While these are all good starting points, you still need to look at the specific bottles and which ones are lighter on the alcohol and heavier on the fruit flavor in order to get a pairing you can be happy with.
A little bit of research and following these basic rules can help you to find the ideal red wine to pair with even the hottest spicy dishes out there.