Drinking wine with chilli
Question from Heath: My partner loves any chilli Asian dish but we always struggle with the wine match. What do you recommend?
In a nut shell – Go with a fruity or sweet white wine (aromatic Riesling) or a red wine with low tannin (Pinot Noir, Grenache, Beaujolais) and make sure the wine you pick is relatively low in alcohol.
In a clam shell – Good question! Chilli food is always tricky to pair with wine. We pair particular wines with particular foods because if we get it wrong your wine is going to taste bland and flavourless.
Try this – sip a Cabernet Sauvignon and enjoy the flavours, then eat a square of sweet dairy milk chocolate and swig your Cabernet Sauvignon again. I guarantee you’ll notice that the wine taste different – more bitter and alcoholic and less fruity and to be frank, pretty unenjoyable. The ideal food and wine combination will make both the food and the wine taste better than either would taste apart.
Think opposites with food and wine pairing. If your food is chilli your wine is going to taste more bitter, acidic and alcoholic and less fruity and sweet. To match an appropriate wine you need to up the fruit and sugar in the wine and decrease the bitterness, acid and alcohol to get the right balance.
You should pair your chilli dish with a white wine that’s fruity, sweet and low in alcohol. Try an aromatic Riesling or even better, a sweet Riesling (ideally a Kabinett from Germany which you can pick up from Dan Murphy’s), Viognier, Gewürztraminer, Muscat or Pinot Gris.
If you want to drink a red wine stick with one that’s fruity, low in tannin and low in alcohol like Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Grenache or Beaujolais.