James Thorne from Thorne Wines gave us his top wine matching tips for curry
We all love a good curry, but so often our default accompanying drink is a glass of the hoppy stuff. However, it’s worth trying wine as a pairing. There are a few things to consider when choosing what is best to drink.
What type of curry are we talking about – Indian, Bangladeshi, Thai, Malay etc? Whether it’s sweet, sour or spicy, the base is what will guide you. Indian curries tend to be made from a blend of dried spices and onion, whereas Thai curries start with an aromatic taste and utilise a lot more coconut milk. But let’s focus on Indian here – tomato “gravy” works really well with Rosé, or fruity reds. Avoid the lighter Provençal Rosé’s and head for something with a bit more power. Light reds, like Pinot Noir or Garnacha, are reliable and carry enough fruit.
When there is heat, you should steer clear of tannic wines, for example Bordeaux or Barolo, as the more heat, the more bitter the wine will taste.
How hot is it? To balance the burn of capsicum you need to look for wines that are served cold (this can be reds), have lower alcohol and some sweetness. Think Riesling; its higher sugar levels and lower alcohol content pair perfectly with the fiery heat. It is also worth mentioning that when there is heat, you should steer clear of tannic wines, for example Bordeaux or Barolo, as the more heat, the more bitter the wine will taste. If the gravy has no heat, then you are looking to bring in some fresh acidity or a deeper red. A great pairing for the humble Korma is Zinfandel.
What protein/veg/dairy have you chosen? Chicken is the main pick for most people, so whites work a treat. It is however worth knowing that lamb pairs really well with dry Rieslings and Austrian Grüner Veltliners. A red that can go nicely with meats, cheeses and vegetables is the classic Rioja. But you should aim for a Joven or Crianza, as you will want to avoid too much tannin.
Here are some of our favourite wines to try with a curry:
Bodegas Perica 6CEPAS6 Rosado 2018 Rioja (from £11.69)
Garnacha 60%, Tempranillo 30%, Viura 10%
This is probably our best all-rounder. Its flavours of strawberries, raspberries and cherries, fine toasty and spicy notes of clove and mace, and vibrant yet creamy finish allow it to work with Makhani Murgh all the way up to Madras.
Vondeling Babiana 2017 Voor-Paardeberg (from £13.49)
Chenin Blanc 64%, Viognier 19%, Roussanne 8.5% & Grenache Blanc 8.5%
This gem from South Africa works wonders with a Chicken Korma and would be right at home with a Cape Malay curry. Baked quince, pineapple, and a hint of marmalade bitterness all come together, laced with oak and vanilla and held together with balanced acidity.
Calusari Pinot Noir 2019 Romania (from £7.19)
Pinot Noir 100%
Romanian wine might not be everyone’s first pick, but the region where this comes from has rich grape growing heritage dating back to the 1400s. Its light, soft and juicy nature paired with smooth and spicy flavours work perfectly with lamb Rogan Josh or Jalfrezi.
Thorne Wines is small family-run independent merchant based in Cambridge. They offer free delivery throughout the city on orders over £30 and make most deliveries by cargo bike. Visit www.thornewines.com for more information.
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