Diverse and Complex
Indian cuisine is diverse and complex, featuring many spices and flavors, including curry. In fact, Indian food is packed with exciting tastes. But, when it comes to wine pairing with curry, it’s those dynamic characteristics that make the wine pairing process so daunting.
When someone’s thinking about Indian food, wine isn’t the first thing that comes to mind since, for the most part, simple refreshments are the best companions for curry-based courses. The thought of attempting to pair something so complex as wine with an equally complicated dish, like Indian curry, seems impossible. However, I have compiled a list of wines that will make an excellent match with curry.
What Wines Pair Well With Curry?
In order to make the perfect wine match, you have to consider a few things first. If you don’t, the process will become way more challenging than it needs to be, and you’d want to avoid that.
Consider the Sauce
Indian courses, especially curries, have many different sauces, from light and creamy to tomato-based or herbaceous green. For example, tomato-based sauces are great with white wines with high acidity or fruity rosés. Similarly, a dish produced with cream-based sauce is fantastic for reds with medium tannins and deep berry flavors.
Spiciness Plays a Vital Role
Unfortunately, there’s a common misconception that all Indian food is spicy. Sure, most Indian dishes have heat, but not all are tongue-scorching. In general, to offset the intense spiciness, opt for wines that are low in alcohol and have just a bit of sweetness, like an off-dry Riesling. Milder dishes work nicely with bone-dry whites.
And What About the Protein?
Like any other cuisine, Indian courses are rich in proteins, meaning protein dictates your wine choice more often than not. For instance, meat curries are perfect with full-bodied reds, including Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, or more delicate but peppery Syrah. Seafood, chicken, and vegetable curries go well with acidic and fruit-forward wines, like Pinot Grigio. Whatever your wine choice is, though, keeping the sauce and spice level in mind is advisable.
Masala and Riesling
Masala (also called tikka masala) is a traditional Indian creamy tomato-based course. The sauce is made of tomato puree, cream, butter, and masala spice mix. Additional spices include ground cinnamon, peppercorn, cumin, cardamom, curry, and coriander. It is recommended to pair a Riesling with this dish. The reason for this is that the fruity notes and vibrant acidity help carry the spices and balance out the pronounced richness. A Pinot Grigio is also a good choice here.
Sambar Rice and Syrah
Sambar rice is one of the smokiest and earthy Indian dishes. Essentially, the dish is a combination of rice, lentils, curry, and sambar sauce, which contains carrots, tamarind, shallots, and, of course, sambar powder. The flavors of this rice-based dish demand to be matched with a powerful wine, like a Syrah or Shiraz. On top of this, the wine helps to offset the spiciness, making it an excellent companion.
Saag Paneer calls for a Sauvignon Blanc
Saag paneer is a popular vegetarian Indian dish featuring spinach, cheese, gravy, and many spices, including curry, coriander, ginger, masala, and turmeric. For such a dish, Sauvignon Blanc is the ideal wine choice. The high acidity of the Sauvignon cuts through the richness of the cheese, giving a mouthwatering result. A Riesling is another option, too, as well as a lightweight Cabernet Sauvignon. Let’s take a look now at my list of the best wines for curry wine pairing:
Best White Wines With Curry
Tramin Nussbaumer Gewürztraminer
- Winery — Tramin
- Country/Region — Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Südtiro, Alto Adige
- Type — Northern Italy Gewürztraminer
- Aroma — Rose Petals, Gardenia, Lily, Cantaloupe, Passion Fruit, Mango, Ginger
- Grapes — Gewürztraminer
- Taste — Apricot, Tangerine, Peach, Pineapple, Crushed Stones, Flint
- Alcohol Content — 15.1%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Curry, Red Snapper, Sea Bass, Halibut, Fried Chicken, Napolitana, Muenster
Aromas of rose petals, blossoms of spring flowers, and exotic tropical fruits with a hint of baking spices grace the nose. The body is rich, as expected, with a salty minerality that increases with age. The wine begins with a kaleidoscope of fragrances, including rose petals, scent of gardenias, and lilies. These are closely followed by aromas of exotic fruits, such as cantaloupe, passion fruit, and mango, as well as a hint of ginger, cinnamon spice, and nutmeg.
The aromatic bouquet gives way to the rich palate, where flavors of apricots, tangerines, peaches, and pineapples combine with a salty minerality. The mellow palate concludes in a lengthy finish. Refreshing acidity. Tramin is a union of 190 families in the Italian Alps working together to produce wines of wonderful fragrances and delicious taste. The winemakers in this cooperation are driven by passion and have created a symphony of scents that evoke emotions that are unforgettable. It makes it possibly the best white wine with curry.
Régnard Grand Régnard Chablis
- Winery — Régnard
- Country/Region — France, Bourgonge, Chablis
- Type — Burgundy Chablis
- Aroma — Peach, Apricot, Nectarine, Apple, Pear, Dried Soil
- Grapes — Chardonnay
- Taste — Grapefruit, Pineapple, Guava, Ginger, Peppercorn, Brioche Bread, Flint
- Alcohol Content — 12.5%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Curry, Halibut, Ham, Rabbit, Asparagus, Camembert, Brie
Yellow in hue with green highlights, Régnard Grand Régnard Chablis is expressive and reminiscent of white fruit (peaches) and mineral notes. Carefully balanced creaminess and acidity. This is an exceptional Chablis. It starts with charming aromas of peaches, apricots, and nectarines, alongside subtle touches of crispy apples and pears. Some nuances of baking spices are discernible, too, as well as a note of dried soil. The palate is rich and long, showing exceptional balance.
Flavors of Meyer lemons, lime, and orange peel combine with tastes of passion fruit, guavas, and ginger to deliver a powerful result. Elements of peppercorn, brioche bread, and crushed stones drive the long finish. Régnard is one of the oldest and most renowned wine estates in Chablis. Founded in 1860 by Zephir Régnard, the winery was purchased in 1984 by Baron Patrick de Ladoucette, who added his style to the traditional Régnard wines. One of France’s best white wines.
Domaine Pfister Berg Riesling
- Winery — Domaine Pfister
- Country/Region — France, Alsace
- Type — Alsace Riesling
- Aroma — Pear, Apple, Grapefruit, Honeysuckle, Peach
- Grapes — Riesling
- Taste — Apricot, Pineapple, Passion Fruit, Guava, Hazelnut, Flint
- Alcohol Content — 12.5%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Curry, Sashimi, Grouper, Tuna, Braised Ham, Oven-baked Chicken, Pork Cutlets With Honey
Vibrant apple, citrus, and blossom notes surface on this Alsace’s bouquet, enticing wine fans. The mouth is great with enough complexity and lushness. The finish shows a touch of tannin that adds to the crispy acidity. The wine starts with the bright aromas of apples, pears, grapefruit, and honeysuckle. Some scents of stone fruits, like peach, exist on the nose, but they’re not distracting.
The graceful body has agility and complexity to satisfy even the most demanding wine fans. Tastes of apricots, pineapples, passion fruit, and guavas complement the mineral freshness, while a touch of tannins adds depth. Medium, hazelnut-driven finish. Drink it now or hold it in the cellar.
Sustainable Wine-Growing and Winemaking
The turning point for Domaine Pfister was in 1972 when Alfred Pfister gave the wine business to his son André. With the support of his wife, André would implement a new approach designed to benefit future generations.
Specifically, he devoted himself to ecologically responsible wine-growing while, at the same time, he modernized facilities and equipment. The work he carried out on the vines and in the estate’s, cellar achieved his objective of crafting the highest possible quality wine, extremely expressive of the Pfister terroir.
Best Red Wines With Pork Chops
Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- Winery — Domaine du Vieux Lazaret
- Country/Region — France, Rhone Valley, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- Type — Southern Rhône Châteauneuf-du-Pape Red
- Aroma — Cherry, Raspberry, Redcurrant, Leather, Cinnamon Spice
- Grapes — Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Grenache
- Taste — Prune, Fig, Tobacco, Smoke, Cedarwood, Vanilla Spice, Stewed Fruit
- Alcohol Content — 14.5%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Curry, Braised Beef, Barbecue, Duck, Hamburgers, Roquefort
Pale dark red in color with a purple rim, the nose of this Syrah is warm, presenting an attractive complexity of fruits and spices. The mouth has lighter weight but exhibits bottle development. Balanced structure, medium-long finish. A core of red berry fruits defines the bouquet, including scent of cherries, raspberries, and redcurrants. Next, you will identify nuances of spices, leather, and tertiary sensations.
As the wine flows into the mouth, the bottle development is pronounced, presenting an attractive blend of cherries, prunes, figs, and cinnamon spice. A touch of tobacco, smoke, and cedar wood add complexity, yet they are subtle. What happens is that this Syrah is more about finesse than power. Dusty tannins and a long finish synthesize a wonderful conclusion.
Winemaking in the Prestigious Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Domaine du Vieux Lazaret is spread across 90 hectares throughout the prestigious wine region of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. In fact, it is among the largest domains of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. 80 hectares are planted with red grape varieties, including Syrah, and 10 with white varietals. The number of the different appellations enables the Domaine du Vieux Lazaret to produce the best red wine with curry due to the diversity of grape types, soil, and microclimates.
Andrew Rich Prelude Pinot Noir
- Winery — Andrew Rich
- Country/Region — United States, Oregon, Willamette Valley
- Type — Oregon Pinot Noir
- Aroma — Cherry, Strawberry, Violet, Lavender, Smoke, Charred Wood
- Grapes — Pinot Noir
- Taste — Cranberry, Raspberry, Blood Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Plum, Leather, Flint, Wet Stones
- Alcohol Content — 14.9%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Ahi Tuna, Roast Chicken, Game Meat, Pan-fried Salmon, Casseroles, Beef Bourguignon
This Prelude is approachable and welcoming. It has aromas and flavors that are more leathery than fruity. At the same time, Andrew Rich Prelude Pinot Noir exhibits an intense earthy, mushroom character. Lengthy finish. Engaging fragrances of musky dark and red fruits blend with intense scents of leather, smoke, and toasted wood.
The palate is laced with flavors of prunes, figs, blackberries, and cranberries, as well as undertones of dried herbs, leaves, and chipotle. Mushroom and dried soil feature in the mouth. Moderate acidity and quite a long finish conclude the tasting profile. Dusty, almost fine-grained tannins.
Passion About Pinot Noir
Andrew Rich has had a long career in winemaking. He started as a magazine editor in New York City before enrolling in a winemaking school in Burgundy. After returning to California, Andrew Rich worked at Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz, gaining practical experience and honing his vinification skills. During this period, he developed a passion for Rhone wines before moving to Oregon, where he built his winery in Willamette Valley, focusing entirely on his favorite Pinot Noir.
So ends my list of wines that can be paired with curry. If you are looking for the best curry wine match or Indian food-wine pairing, my recommendations should have covered every taste bud. All you have to do is purchase some of the above wine suggestions, or, similar ones, and uncork them the next time you prepare (or buy takeout) of your favorite curry-based dish. It’s that simple.