Tag Archives: challenging foods

A Great Gewürztraminer for Your Next Spicy Indian Meal

Sipp Mack Gewürztraminer with Indian foodI had to post about a good wine to go with Indian food soon here on Wine Pairing Weekend. The popularity of that subject was one reason I started this site.  The original Cooking Chat post I wrote years ago on Pairing Wine with Indian Food is still my most viewed post of all time. So clearly people are hungry–or thirsty–for this information.  People are looking for wine pairings for all kinds of food, but the challenge of matching the spices of Indian cuisine is clearly of particular interest. From time to time, I’ll dip into the Cooking Chat archives to share some of the best wines for Indian food I’ve found!

Earlier this year, I paired the 2011 Sipp Mack Gewürztraminer from Alsace with homemade Indian food. On this occasion, I picked out a new recipe to try from my FOOD and WINE Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes book, the Gingered Red Lentils with Garlic (a version can be found here on the Garlic Shoots blog). I started realizing that we were in for some kick, counting how many hot chili peppers I was putting in (3 serrano, 1 jalapeno plus two dried chilis) not to mention other spices. Not many wines can stand up to such heat, so I was pleased to have one that can chilling as I cooked. I also made Aloo Palak to go with it.

As expected, the Sipp Mack Gewürztraminer was a great pairing for this spicy Indian dish. has a nice mouthfeel, not quite full bodied but substantial. There’s a bit of residual sugar, giving it some honey-like sweetness along with ripe pairs and cinnamon. That sweetness helped cool off and refresh the spicy bites I was taking. It was not over the top sweet, but a well-made wine with just the right touch to make it work with the spicy food–including subtle spice notes in the wine, as is typical with Gewurz. Generally speaking, Gewürztraminer can be a great option with Indian food, and this Sipp Mack in particular is worth trying if you can grab it. I’d imagine you might have more luck picking up a more recent version of the bottle.

Sipp Mack Gewürztraminer, great with spicy food.

Shaved Raw Asparagus with Parmesan Dressing served with a Grillo

raw asparagus salad with parmesan dressing served with Grillo wine.It’s asparagus season here! Good news for the tasty veggie, but a challenge for wine pairings! Pairing wine with asparagus is notoriously difficult.  But this tasty recipe from Food & Wine has good potential with wine.

This pairing does a couple things to make the wine match work. First, the cheese in this dish provides a “bridge”, something that does go well with wine that you can focus on in coming up with a pairing. I asked Ray from Pairings for help with this pairing and all who gathered to sample it were very pleased with the result. The Fondo Antico Grillo Parlante that he recommended, made from the Sicilian white grape Grillo, has a nice fresh crispness that worked with the lemon in the dressing. I also got a bit of salinity in this–perhaps from the vineyard’s proximity to the sea? That worked well with the saltiness of the cheese.