A Guide for Pairing Wine With Indian Food
With its fantastic spices and countless variations, Indian cuisine can be a little tricky to pair with wine and often people simply opt for a cooling beer when things get a bit too spicy.
However, don’t despair wine lovers! We have come to your rescue with this handy guide featuring our suggestions for the best white wines for Indian food and the best red wines for Indian food.
WHAT WINES PAIR BEST WITH INDIAN FOOD?
In general, when it comes to pairing wine with Indian food, white drinkers are safe with a dry, savoury style like Riesling for its universal appeal, while Rosé is also another great multi-purpose option. For those who enjoy red wine, light to medium weight and savoury reds are a good choice, with Merlot working well with Indian dishes that have a bit of heat.
One very important piece of advice when it comes to choosing wines to go with Indian food, is to avoid overly tannic reds such as Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, or Montepulciano, which will accentuate any chilli heat or bitterness within the dish.
PAIRING WINE WITH SAAG PANEER (SPINACH WITH INDIAN CHEESE)
The best white wines for Indian foods like saag paneer are light and aromatic or dry whites.
Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Arneis or Savagnin, all pair deliciously well with this vegetarian dish with its spinach base, cottage cheese and mild spices.
PAIRING WINE WITH TIKKA MASALA
Authentic chicken tikka masala is usually made with yogurt marinated chicken, skewered, and chargrilled for incredible barbeque flavours.
The best red wine pairings are medium weight and savoury styles including Pinot Noir, Grenache or GSM blend, or a Nero d’Avola, while the best white wine pairing with tikka masala include Chardonnay, aged Riesling, Grüner Veltliner, or Gewürztraminer.
PAIRING WINE WITH BUTTER CHICKEN
Butter chicken is rich, full of flavour and has a delicious mix of spices, so it’s best paired with a medium weight white wine with good acidity.
Enjoy it with a Chardonnay, Roussanne, aged Riesling, Semillon or Vermentino.
PAIRING WINE WITH TANDOORI CHICKEN
Tandoori chicken is aromatic and quite smoky and often tastes almost beefy, so a light to medium weight and savoury red is the best red wine pairing with this popular Indian dish.
Try a Pinot Noir, Grenache or GMS blend, or a Nero d’Avola. For white wine lovers, a good Riesling is also an option.
PAIRING WINE WITH BEEF VINDALOO
Sitting at the higher end of the spice-o-meter, Vindaloo is fiery and rich dish so avoid red wines with rich tannins as tannins will accentuate the heat.
The best red wines for Indian food like this are fruit driven to medium weight reds like Merlot and Barbera. An off-dry Rosé also a great pairing.
So, there you have it. Pick out a bottle from your wine collection, choose some dishes from your favourite local takeaway (or cook up a storm), and enjoy a flavour-filled Indian feast.
For more great food and wine combinations, be sure to check out our dedicated Food and Wine Pairing pages.