ALISTAIR GIBSON: Curry night? Has to be lager doesn’t it? Think again...

Villa Maria Private Bin Gew�rztraminer 2016 - great with curry
Villa Maria Private Bin Gew�rztraminer 2016 - great with curry
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It’s funny really.

I’ve spent the past two weeks organising events for British Food Fortnight and next up is National Curry Week – October 9-15 – and by a strange quirk it also appears to be National Chocolate Week. Best not combine the two.

Milder curries are far easier to match with wine than searingly 
hot ones

There are of course some who would say that you should merge National Curry Week into British Food Fortnight. After all, is not curry now allegedly our national dish?

Apparently, almost 
two-thirds of all meals out 
in the UK involve Indian 
food which is worth £3.2bn.

So with all that curry, what to drink with it? Lager is probably the go-to drink, but for wine drinkers it requires a little more thought.

There are enough opinions on this to fill a month of columns. They range from ‘don’t drink wine with curry’ to ‘whatever wine you like’. But here a few thoughts on what may work.

The first rule of course is that it depends on the curry. Without question milder curries are far easier to match with wine than searingly hot ones.

Cune Barrel Fermented Blanco 2016, Rioja (Waitrose and Ocado £10.99) is from one of Rioja’s most recognised producers who have built a reputation for making traditionally-styled wines. Please don’t let that put you off because it has a very modern feel to it.

Made from viura and fermented in new American oak barrels, the oak never dominates and the wine shows lovely fresh notes of citrus and a hint of pineapple with some richness and creaminess on the palate before a well-rounded finish. It may appear to be a slightly left field place to start but this is really interesting wine and great value. Try with a creamy prawn-based curry.

Riesling is perhaps a more recognised partner especially with chicken, fish or vegetable curries and I think Australian riesling can be a particularly good match. Robert Oatley Signature Riesling 2015, Great Southern (hailshamcellars.com £12.50, winedirect.co.uk £12.95) is from Western Australia produced by one of the great pioneers of the modern Australian wine industry, Bob Oatley, the founder of Rosemount Wines.

This is fragrant with floral aromas and lots of juicy lime on the nose before a fresh palate with minerals, steely acidity, more lime and a long finish.Definitely worth tracking down.

Gewürztraminer is in many ways a Marmite of a grape, but is surprisingly good with curry and the go-to wine for many people I know. Villa Maria Private Bin Gewurztraminer 2016, East Coast (Waitrose and Ocado £10.99, Majestic £11.99 but £9.99 as part of a mixed six) is a great introduction to this grape if you’re not sure.

It has distinctive aromas of tinned lychee, Turkish delight and spice followed by a textural palate with low acidity, more spice and a just off -ry finish. Try with mild duck curry.

n Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth. Call (01243) 431002 or e-mail alistair@hermitagecellars.co.uk