Are you a big fan of spicy food? How about a big fan of wine? Now, how about both?
You may not believe it, but wine can really complement the robust flavor palette of spicy food. With thousands of wine options in the world, it’s not surprising that there’s a bottle out there to pair with the spiciest of foods.
Want to learn how to pair your wine with your family’s favorite spicy dish? Follow these expert tips for pairing wine with spicy food. You’ll never reach to chug a glass of milk again!
Sip Something Sweet
Sweetness helps calm roiling taste buds. Have you ever had some honey after eating something that set your mouth on fire? Instant relief!
This same idea applies to sweet wines after a bite of Szechuan noodles. So, what should you look for? Peruse the label for some residual sugar—those are the wines that’ll wrap that spice in a nice, big, cooling hug.
Riesling, Chenin Blanc, and Gewurztraminer have just enough sugar to tame the heat without overpowering the flavor.
Bounce To Bubbles
Bubbles and spice go hand-in-hand. How? They both target the same pain receptors in your mouth. They feel the spice from chiles, but they also feel the surge from carbonation.
Now, this can also go in the opposite direction if not paired directly. You don’t want to go too heavy with spice and then only pair with a lightly carbonated wine. The level of spice-to-bubble has to be quite equal. Here’s how:
- Shoot for spicy foods that also have a little fattiness to them.
- Go for bubbles that have some sweetness to them (Moscato d’Asti or Lambrusco, for example).
- Search for some acidity in the wines as well, to counteract the spice.
Soothe With a Chilled Red
Do you ever just want to drop an ice cube on your tongue when your mouth is aflame? Well, that might not actually feel as good as it sounds, as the big shift from hot to cold could do more “damage” than good. Instead, shoot for a little bit of a chill from a wine that’s got a light body.
How’s this work? A low tannin, low alcohol, fruit-forward, chilled red wine will refresh and slightly chill the heat present in your mouth. Try it out!
Our Bottle Picks
Simple reds like Gamay, Pinot Noir, and Beaujolais will chill and tame your mouth in just the right way.
Avoid Oaked out Wines
Here’s a quick tip for you—avoid oaky wines while you’re pairing with spicy dishes. Why? It’s not that they won’t necessarily relieve the spice, but rather that you’ll lose out on the brilliant flavors of the dish.
Try Matching to Aromas
Our last expert tip for pairing wine with spicy food speaks to aroma matching. If you’re eating something that’s heavy in Chinese five spice, then a plummy Pinot Noir will work well, since it contains hints of those spices. Indian dishes that are doused in cardamom, clove, coriander, and more, will match well with wines that also have those spices.
Take a look at the descriptions on the wines to determine which spices are present, and then try to match that to your dish. Here’s the key—this works better for those who need a red wine with dinner.
Head to Wines ‘Til Sold Out to get all the discount fine wine you need to test out these theories! Your mouth will thank you!