Which wines to choose to pair with spicy dishes?

A few basics

It can sometimes be tricky to find wine and food pairings when it comes to world cuisine and spices.

Véronique follows two principles related to seasonality:

“In winter, I like to accompany spicy dishes with wines that have plenty of substance, as I am looking for things that are hearty and filling. On the contrary, in Summer, I choose wines that are fresh, in order to balance out the heat of the spices on the palate.”

In short, there are two ways to pair a wine and a spicy dish: either go for similar or contrasting flavours and aromas.

Through the Americas

Imagine that it’s winter time and you have a chili con carne – the famous dish that originated in Texas – simmering on the stove.

“I would go for a fairly full-bodied red wine, which will envelop the heat of the spices such as a Châteauneuf-du-Pape Laurus, made whith ripe grenaches grapes”

says Véronique. The notes of tobacco and Mocha coffee bean, combined with the moreish notes of blackcurrant and black cherries, resonate with this spicy dish and the richness of the kidney beans.

For something briny and spicy, such as sopa de marisco – a soup eaten in Central America – made with seafood, vegetables and spices, Véronique is inspired by a white Sauvignon Gabriel for its freshness and aromatic liveliness. Our Côtes de Provence Rosé Gabriel Meffre “Madame” will also make a perfect pairing.

A stop in Northern Africa

For a couscous, the red Gigondas Lieu-dit Les Trois Yeux – Domaine de Longue Toque is a good match.

“I recommend a wine that is enveloping, fresh and slightly spicy.”

Véronique tells us. This Gigondas, which is grown in altitude and has an airy character, subtly softens the powerful taste of the harissa. The notes of violet and nutmeg balance the strength of this dish, without altering it. To accompany a chicken tagine with preserved lemons, a white wine, such as Saint-Joseph “Saint Etienne” Gabriel Meffre, is a suitable and elegant choice, enthuses Véronique :

“It’s superb! In terms of aromas, it’s a mineral wine with plenty of substance however. The freshness of the aromas complements the fragrant and delicately spiced chicken.”

Destination Asia

Generally speaking, Véronique prefers white wine to accompany Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Maison Gabriel Meffre’s reference, which in her view, you can’t go wrong with, is the Côtes du Rhône Saint Vincent Gabriel Meffre :

“Fresh, balanced and unctuous all at once, in particular thanks to the presence of Viognier, it delicately envelops the palate and offsets the hotness of the spices.”

However, Véronique thinks that all colours of wine can accompany Asian cuisine. With a meat curry, the Côtes du Rhône Village Laurus red is a wonderful match thanks to

“its woody, meaty character and the fruity expression of the Grenache“.

Fish curry can be accompanied with originality and elegance by the rosé cuvée « Amoureuse » Château Grand Escalion. With its citrus aromas, it adds just the right touch of freshness, while bringing out the flavours of the sea.

Lastly, with indian dishes, such as lentil dahl, chicken tikka or makhni (a mutton stew) delivering smooth, creamy texture and spices such as cinnamon, coriander, cumin and curcuma, Véronique suggests two red wine cuvées:

“the Plan de Dieu Saint Mapalis Gabriel Meffre for its spicy notes and structured finish or a very rich and smooth red such as the Châteauneuf-du-Pape Laurus.”

Now it’s up to you to try… and taste! If you need advice, we will be delighted to help you!

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