A Complex but Delicious Cuisine
As with most Asian cuisines, Thai cuisine is intricate and complex. Thai cooking emphasizes dishes prepared with a pronounced aromatic and spicy edge. Simplicity is not the dictum, here. Expect to taste a variety of herbs and ingredients in the form of noodle soups or boiled pasta. Thai cuisine falls into 4 categories: yam (spicy salads), tam (pounded foods), gaeng (curries), and tom (boiled and soup dishes). On top of this, Thai cuisine includes steamed dishes, as well as deep-and-stir-fries. However, this food style derives from China.
As expected, herbs are used abundantly in Thai cuisine. Cilantro, ginger, basil, lemongrass are the most common. Fish and soy sauces are staples in Thai cooking, just like everywhere in Southeastern Asia. Other typical ingredients used in Thai cuisine are cane sugar, sweet chilies, tropical fruits, such as mangoes and lychees, tamarind, and bok choy. Some famous Thai foods include tom yum goong (spicy shrimp soup), khao pad (fried rice), gaeng daeng (red curry), and tom kha kai (chicken in coconut soup).
What Wines Pair Well With Thai Food?
Thai food is renowned for having spicy, sour, sweet, and salty flavors, contrary to the warmer spices found in Indian cuisine and the fragrant notes of Vietnamese courses. So, when dealing with Thai, you have to work with different wine styles than if you were aiming for the perfect Indian curry wine pairing. The thing is that authentic Thai cuisine is super-hot. To counterbalance the hotness and the burning sensations, you have to serve wines with a high sugar content and flavor richness. Besides, chili heat decreases the perception of richness, sweetness, and body in the wine. Therefore, go for these wine styles:
For most people, Gewürztraminer is the best wine to pair with Thai and oriental cuisines. The wine is aromatic with good density and moderate, refreshing acidity. In other words, it could be the best white wine with Thai food.
The touch of sweetness from an off-dry Riesling is welcoming when it comes to Thai food and wine pairing. It helps to offset the spiciness of Thai dishes and tone down flavor intensity.
For some, Pinot Noir is not a good drink choice to serve with Thai. However, that is far from the truth, as a juicy, fruit-forward Pinot with ample, earthy richness can be the best red wine with Thai food. The great thing about Pinots is that they show great acidity, too, helping even more to balance the hotness of the Thai courses out.
Best White Wines With Thai Food
Paul Blanck Gewürztraminer
- Winery — Paul Blanck
- Country/Region — France, Alsace
- Type — French Gewürztraminer
- Aroma — Honeysuckle, Orange Blossom, Mandarin, White Peach, Smoke, Clove
- Grapes — Gewürztraminer
- Taste — Nectarine, Peach, Apricot, Meyer Lemon, Grapefruit, Honey
- Alcohol Content — 13.5%
- Sugar — Semi-Sweet
- Pairing — Thai Food, Sour Pork, Chicken Wings, Smoked Salmon, Provolone, Cheddar
A vibrant nose of honeysuckle, mandarin, orange blossom, and stone fruit notes characterize the bouquet. The palate is rounded, packed with concentrated flavors of peach and citrus. As soon as the bottle uncorks, bright aromas of honeysuckle, orange blossom, mandarin, and white peach emerge, alongside hints of smoke and cloves. In the mouth, concentrated, medium-sweet tastes of nectarines, peaches, and apricots, blend with an edge of Meyer lemons and grapefruits. Honeyed sensations contribute creaminess as they drive into a rich, sweet aftertaste.
Paul Blanck is a deeply-rooted family winery producing wine expressive of the combinations of climate, soil, grape varieties, and craftsmanship. In addition, Paul Blanck aims to showcase the potential of Alsatian terroirs. Winemaking is modern but with the utmost respect to tradition. And there is also a love to share stories behind each wine with wine connoisseurs searching for unique and immersive drinking experiences.
Remhoogte Honeybunch Reserve Chenin Blanc
- Winery — Remhoogte
- Country/Region — South Africa, Western Cape, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch, Simonsberg-Stellenbosch
- Type — South African Chenin Blanc
- Aroma — Peach, Apricot, Vanilla Bean, Pear, Grapefruit, Honeydew
- Grapes — Chenin Blanc
- Taste — Pineapple, Guava, Melon, Brioche Bread, Toasted Oak
- Alcohol Content — 14%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Thai Food, Chicken Entrées, Shrimp, Pasta With Clams, Steak Fajitas, Pepperoni Pizza
Scents of stone fruit, baking spices, and butter are upfront on the bouquet, as secondary nuances of green fruits and honeydew follow. Medium-bodied, the palate is soft and delicious, with ample acidity to counterbalance the wine’s creaminess. Ripe peach and apricot aromas, join fragrances of vanilla bean and Asian spice on the nose, while additional scents of pears, grapefruits, and honeydews complete the aromatic bouquet. On the palate, Remhoogte Honeybunch Reserve Chenin Blanc shows roundness and softness, as gentle flavors of pineapples and guavas combine with tastes of melons, brioche bread, and toasted oak.
The acidity is ample and brisk, offsetting the richness, and the aftertaste is long and citrus-driven. At Remhoogte, they firmly believe that wine is made in the vineyard. So, human interference during the winemaking process is as little as possible. For this reason, the people behind Remhoogte have adopted a minimalist approach in the vineyards and the cellar. In the vineyard, everything is done by hand, from pruning to harvesting to fruit picking.
At the same time, Remhoogte is a member of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative and the Integrated Production of Wine Scheme, advocating sustainable viticulture. In the cellar, the minimalist approach consists of adding just an amount of carbon dioxide before bottling. And wild or natural yeasts are allowed to ferment the grapes before the wine is drained off the skins and goes for maturation in French oak. The result? Deliciously produced wines, crafted with care and passion, highly expressive of the Stellenbosch terroir.
Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling
- Winery — Willamette Valley
- Country/Region — United States, Oregon, Willamette Valley
- Type — Oregon State Riesling
- Aroma — Peach, Apricot, Orange, Pineapple, Honeysuckle
- Grapes — Riesling
- Taste — Guava, Apple, Pear, Nectarine, Lychee, Melon, Grapefruit
- Alcohol Content — 9%
- Sugar — Semi-Sweet
- Pairing — Thai Food, Red Snapper, Crab Cake, Grilled Calamari, Fried Chicken, Feta, Parmigiano Reggiano
Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling is a semi-sweet white wine that opens with a nose of aromas of stone fruit, pineapple, and white flowers. In the mouth, luscious tastes mingle with vibrant acidity, offering freshness and dynamism. With a nose packed with juicy scents of peach, apricot, orange, pineapple, and honeysuckle, the wine starts the tasting journey delightfully. The mouthfeel is luscious and rich, loaded with tastes of guavas, apples, pears, and nectarines. Delicate notes of lychee, melon, and citrus are discernible, too, as a touch of petroleum contributes depth and instant appeal. The finish is tangy and refreshing.
Willamette Valley Vineyards is known as one of America’s great Pinot Noir producers. Founded in 1983 by vintner Jim Bernau, Willamette Valley Vineyards was an old plum orchard before grape vines were planted. Jim Bernau had the vision of organizing the support of the wine fans to create a winery that would make phenomenal quality wines via shared ownership. This collective effort resulted in more than 16,000 active grape owners. The vineyards have also been certified sustainable since 1997.
Best Red Wines With Thai Food
Gran Moraine Pinot Noir
- Winery — Gran Moraine
- Country/Region — United States, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton District
- Type — Oregon State Pinot Noir
- Aroma — Guava, Pineapple, Strawberry, Cherry, Thyme, Sage, Tarragon, Campfire, Soil, Cocoa
- Grapes — Pinot Noir
- Taste — Raspberry, Redcurrant, Orange, Grapefruit, Game Meat, Violet, Anise, Pine Sap, Stone, Tea
- Alcohol Content — 13.9%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Thai Food, Pheasant, Goose, Lamb Leg, Rib-eye Steak, Brie
Heady aromas of guavas, strawberries, and dried herbs emerge on the nose, framed by a core of soil, campfire, and tarragon nuances. Mouthwatering sensations of red berries and game meat in the mouth lead to a tight and focused aftertaste. Vibrant fragrances of guavas, pineapples, strawberries, and cherries, blend with scents of thyme, sage, tarragon, campfire, soil, and cocoa to dominate the bouquet.
Juicy flavors of raspberries, redcurrants, oranges, and grapefruits define the palate, while subtle touches of game meat, dried violets, and anise frame the mid-palate. Traces of pine sap and charred wood, accented by stones and tea, build tension. The smooth tannins contribute depth and drive into a tight and fresh finish. Gran Moraine takes advantage of the ancient marine sedimentary-based soils and Mediterranean-style climate to produce world-class quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The winery was named after the erratic rock outcroppings that appeared after the cataclysmic floods in Willamette Valley during the last Ice Age.
Claus Preisinger Puszta Libre!
- Winery — Claus Preisinger
- Country/Region — Austria, Weinland, Burgenland
- Type — Austrian Red
- Aroma — Strawberry, Raspberry, Cherry, Boysenberry, Blackberry Soil, Game Meat
- Grapes — Zweigelt, St. Laurent
- Taste — Redcurrant, Blueberry, Grapefruit, Orange, Sage, Tomato Leaf, Barnyard, Stone, Charred Wood, Smoke, Clove
- Alcohol Content — 12%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Thai Food, Seafood, Sea Bass, Tomato-based Dishes, Roast Chicken, Fowl
This wine begins with a nose filled with red berries and cherries, followed by scents of dark fruits, earth, and game meat. The mouthwatering palate is rich and structured, as flavors of citrus, herbs, and tomato leaf, interlace with oak-driven notes for a palatable outcome. Medium-purple in color, Claus Preisinger Puszta Libre displays vibrant aromas of strawberries, raspberries, and cherries, as well as whiffs of boysenberries, blackberries, soil, and game meat. On the palate, some cloudiness is present, which, however, does not take away from the juiciness of the flavors. Tastes of redcurrants and blueberries join notes of grapefruits, oranges, sage, and tomato leaf.
Some hints of barnyard, stones, and charred wood offer complexity, as the great acidity refreshes the taste buds. The aftertaste is long, showing touches of smoke and cloves. Located on Lake Neusiedl in the town of Gols since 2002, Claus Preisinger converted the synonymous winery and vineyards to biodynamic in 2006. The expert winemaker vinifies domestic grape varieties, such as Grüner Veltliner, St. Laurent, Zweigelt, and Blaufränkisch, as well as Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. Claus Preisinger avoids using cultivated yeast and sulfur dioxide. Sometimes, he ages his wines in amphora rather than traditional oak barrels. This reduction to the essential and the general minimalistic approach leads to pure but complex wines.
As we reach the end of our article, remember there is no perfect Thai Food wine pairing. Everything is about personal preference. That said, the above wines guarantee a great Thai Food wine match. And they serve as an excellent indication of what wine style you should look out for to combine with Asian cooking, too. Have fun!