Wine and curry can be an excellent and exciting pairing. The things to keep in mind are the intensity of the curry, and the spice level of the curry. By intensity, I mean is it a mild, simple curry with just a few flavors, or is it bold and full of a variety of flavors. For example, this mild curry beurre blanc with salmon, or a very curry and spice-focused dish like this Shrimp Curry where there’s a ton of different flavors going on.
If your curry is not spicy, I would suggest a wine and curry pairing with good acidity (Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio/Gris, and Riesling for whites, or Pinot Noir, Gamay, or Sangiovese for Reds) and a ripe fruit flavor. You don’t want to overpower the flavor of the curry too much – so stick to simpler wines. It’s okay to choose a less expensive, simpler wine when pairing with curry because curry can have such a powerful flavor.
If pairing with a spicy curry look for a slightly off-dry wine that’s lower in alcohol (ideally below 13.5%). Sugar and acidity help to counteract spice, whereas alcohol and tannin exacerbate it. Consequently, slightly sweet (off-dry) wines are excellent options for curries. Look for Rieslings Kabinett (usually off-dry) or Trocken (dry) from Mosel, or Nahe, Germany. Also look for Riesling from Alsace, France (these are usually dry, but some late harvest wines will be off-dry).
Another great option with curry is Gewürztraminer again from Germany or Alsace. This grape has tons of floral and ripe orange aromas with moderate acidity. It is also usually slightly off-dry with a full body and can be high alcohol. Consequently, this wine stands up quite well to a flavor packed curry dish.
If you’re looking for something different, try Austrian Grüner Veltliner – similar to Riesling but a little bit leaner and more austere. Very refreshing and often great values! Check out this one from Vivino (affiliate link).
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