The Insider’s Guide To Wine Pairings

The Insider’s Guide To Wine Pairings

One of my top sources for wine knowledge is Christian Navarro at Wally’s Wines and Spirits in Los Angeles. Christian and I discussed the challenge of pairing wines with spicy foods. The key is to find wines that posses sufficient fruitiness and body, richness and flavor to stand up to the heat. 

Wine professionals use a technical term, residual sugar, to refer tot eh fructose that survives alcoholic fermentation in some wines. But that term can be somewhat misleading. Wines containing residual sugar aren’t necessarily sweet in a “desserty” sense, but rather they feature a light, essential natural sweetness, at a nearly undetectable level, that puts out the fire of the spicier Indian and Asian dishes. It’s akin to biting into a fresh peach as opposed to eating a peach cobbler.  

White wines to pair with spicy foods:

  • Pinot Gris
  • Gewürtzaminer
  • Riesling
  • Vouray demisecs

Red wines to pair with spicy foods:

  • Shiraz
  • Spanish Tempranillos
  • California Zinfandel
  • Petite Syrah

 -Colin Cowie

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