Mexican, Indian, Caribbean, and Asian — you can find a wide variety of spicy foods in different cuisines from all over the world. Full of fiery, bold flavors, spicy food is a hot favorite with many people. Even plain food is often spiced up with the addition of spicy hot sauces or by the addition of chilies and peppers.
And to cool down the heat from the chilies, you need to pair your spicy food with the perfect drink. When enjoying spicy food, you’d often find yourself reaching for a refreshing cold beer, perhaps even sweet lemonade. But when you want to upscale your dinner a bit, pairing your spicy food with wine is the way to go.
What Wines Pair Well With Spicy Food?
Finding the right spicy food wine pairing can be notoriously difficult as the ensemble of spices can threaten to overpower and dull the palate, taking away your ability to appreciate the wine. You want the food and wine to be in harmony and to balance each other. You would want to go for a sweeter wine, of course, to cool down your mouth. But you also need to consider the acidity and aromatics so that they complement the spices.
Look for wines that have a little sugar left that has not been converted to alcohol during the fermentation process. The sweetness brings relief to the palate. Riesling and Gewurztraminer grapes are recommended. Gewurztraminer especially works well with Indian curries that often have onion, tomato, and ginger as their base.
Unoaked, crisp wines with lower alcohol content can ease the burn of spicy food. You can also opt for a bubbly wine. Carbonation usually has a similar effect on the taste buds as spice or chili as the pain receptors that sense spice are the same ones responsible for feeling carbonation. Use this to your advantage to enhance that sense of spice in your food. Bubbly wines like Chardonnay or a rose would be a great choice. A ripe, fruity wine like a Shiraz can also set off the spices and offer some welcome sweet relief.
Best White Wines With Spicy Food
Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Kamptal
- Winery — Schloss Gobelsburg
- Country/Region — Austria, Weinland, Niederösterreich, Kamptal
- Type — Austrian Riesling
- Aroma — Citrus, Honey, Stone, Vegetal Notes Of Straw, Grass, Asparagus
- Grapes — Riesling
- Taste — Apple, Stone, Citrus, Floral, Hay, And Mineral Notes
- Alcohol Content — 12.5%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Spicy Cuisines, Pork, Chicken, Light-cured Meats, Shellfish
This is a stunning Riesling made by one of the finest producers of white wines in Austria. Schloss Gobelsburg, the Riesling Kamptal is a classic white made with precision. A perennial favorite, it’s made from Riesling grapes grown on the banks of the Danube River. This area has a history of viticulture dating back to the 12th century. If you’re looking for the best white wine with spicy food, your search ends with this Riesling.
The Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Kamptal is a dry and acidic wine that would go well with pork and other fatty meats. It would add sharpness and fruity balance to your spicy food. The nose is pleasant and crisp with aromas of pear and green apple with some fruity undertones. It has a complex palate with refreshing acidity and high minerality followed by a soft finish.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars KARIA Chardonnay
- Winery — Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
- Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Napa County, Napa Valley
- Type — Napa Valley Chardonnay
- Aroma — Pear, Apple, Melon, Lime, Almond, Flint, Vanilla Spice
- Grapes — Chardonnay
- Taste — Honeycomb, Peach, Apricot, Passion Fruit, Wet Stones, Brioche Bread, Smoke
- Alcohol Content — 13.5%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Ahi Tuna, Honeycomb, Peach, Apricot, Passion Fruit, Wet Stones, Brioche Bread
Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes from the Napa Valley, the Karia Chardonnay is an elegant white that’s perfect to pair with spices in food. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is an award-winning winery that is internationally recognized for winning the 1976 Paris Tasting or the “Judgement of Paris.”
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ Karia Chardonnay is a delicate and creamy white wine from Napa Valley that can be paired with an attention-seeking spicy dish. It has subtle tropical and citrusy aromas of peach, grapefruit, lemon, and orange blossom along with toasted almonds and apricot. It’s a medium to full-bodied wine with a silky mouthfeel and refreshing minerality.
Best Red Wines With Spicy Food
Quinta do Crasto Reserva Vinhas Velhas
- Winery — Quinta do Crasto
- Country/Region — Portugal, Duriense, Douro
- Type — Portuguese Douro Red
- Aroma — Raspberry, Black Cherry, Plum, Tobacco, Jasmine, Oak, Spice
- Grapes — Touriga Nacional
- Taste — Raspberry, Blackberry, Plum, Vanilla, Chocolate
- Alcohol Content — 14.5%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Spicy Food, Roast Pork Loin, Asian Cuisine, Filet Mignon, Roast Lamb
Produced from grapes harvested from Quinta do Crasto’s old vines, the Vinhas Velhas is a stunning ruby red wine that offers an extensive depth of flavor. These old vines have a low yield that often varies from year to year. The wines are aged in American and French oak barrels for 18 months in a temperature-controlled cellar, resulting in a wine that is complex with plenty of depth.
It has a fruity nose with aromas of fresh red fruit complemented by oaky notes, along with hints of spice. The palate is also complex and concentrated with notes of oaks, vanilla, and chocolate, leading to a long finish. Its balanced structure and firm tannins make it a fantastic wine to be served with hearty meats.
Langmeil Valley Floor Shiraz
- Name — Langmeil Valley Floor Shiraz
- Winery — Langmeil
- Country/Region — Australia, South Australia, Barossa
- Type — Australian Shiraz
- Aroma — Raspberry, Strawberry, Cinnamon Spice, Chocolate, Pepper, Leather
- Grapes — Syrah
- Taste — Bramble, Fig, Prune, Mint, Vanilla Spice, Coffee, Lavender, Mint
- Alcohol Content — 14.9%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Spicy Food, Tuna Steak, Roast Goat, Lamb Rack, Honey-glazed Pork Steak
This premium wine from the Barossa Valley is a regional blend made from Australian Shiraz grapes that are sourced from select vineyards. The Langmeil Valley Floor Shiraz is an intense crimson-colored wine with purple hues, indicative of the rich complexity of its flavors.
It has a vibrant nose with aromas of satsuma, plum, mulberry, chocolate, berries, and subtle notes of herbs and spices. The palate is rich and bold with sweet fruits like raspberry, vanilla, and mocha combined with peppery and spicy hints. Its complex flavors are complemented by soft, velvety tannins and a long, satisfying finish, giving it a place on the list of the best red wine with spicy food.
Best Rosé Wine With Spicy Food
Diora La Belle Fête Rosé of Pinot Noir
- Winery — Diora
- Country/Region — United State, California, Central Coast, Monterey County, Monterey
- Type — Californian Rosé
- Aroma — Strawberry, Honeydew Melon, Red Grapefruit, Citus, White Flowers
- Grapes — Pinot Noir
- Taste — Strawberry, Raspberry, Mandarin, Watermelon, Floral Notes
- Alcohol Content — 14.5%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Spicy Food, Roasted Chicken, Paella, Summer Fruit, Brie
Sporting a stunning pale pink hue, Diora’s La Belle Fete is an elegant rosé made from grapes sourced from Monterey’s San Bernabe Vineyard. The Pinot Noir is harvested earlier in the season to ensure that the grapes have the right amount of acidity, and the addition of Grenache and Chardonnay grapes provides subtle nuances of strawberry and honeydew.
La Belle Fete offers inviting aromas of fresh strawberries, honeydew melon, and red grapefruit. It has an equally refreshing and inviting palate with notes of strawberry, red cherry, raspberry, mandarin, and watermelon. It’s a light-bodied wine that is quite dry and has vibrant and bright acidity. Its elegant mouthfeel is further complemented by the zesty finish.
Often, when we want to truly elevate our dining experience, the cuisine that we pair with wine must take precedence when selecting the perfect match. And spicy food, whether Indian or Mexican, does call for certain considerations depending on how best you would like your drink to complement it.
As a rule of thumb, remember, vegetal flavors would be a treat with a crisp, light white wine, while a more full-bodied red would bring out the robustness of a meaty dish. Hopefully, this article helps you find that perfect spicy food wine match for your next meal. Use this list as your guide to get creative with your food and wine pairings.