Matching curry with wine – Alistair Gibson

Artisan Gewurztraminer 2016
Artisan Gewurztraminer 2016

This week is National Curry Week, indeed this is the 20th anniversary of the yearly celebration of all things curry. 

I notice this year there has been something of a re-launch and that National Curry Week is now sponsored by an Indian beer, and of course beer is perhaps what you would associate most when it comes to matching a drink with a curry.

VandenbergChardonnay 2018, Adelaide Hills

VandenbergChardonnay 2018, Adelaide Hills

When it comes to matching wine with curry there are probably more opinions out there than for any other style of food ranging from ‘wine really doesn’t work with curry’ to ‘drink whatever you like’.

Personally I think I’m in the later camp, in fact I think that holds for many dishes.

At the end of the day you should serve a wine you enjoy, not necessarily what someone else tells you to drink. 

However, there are a few important basics to think about.

Limestone Riesling 2017, Pflaz

Limestone Riesling 2017, Pflaz

Mild curries are far easier to match with wine than eye-wateringly hot curries. There are so many different styles of curry – from Thai to various regional Indian dishes, with many more in between, and all of them use spices in subtly different ways.

A curry dinner can often incorporate a number of different dishes, so you have to give thought to a wine which can accompany more than one dish, or at least try to.

Generally speaking, you need to look at wine that offers some refreshment, with white wines a little sweetness can work and certainly some fresh acidity is good.

With reds, definitely avoid huge, oak-influenced wines, look instead for ripe, fruit wines with lamb and red meat curries.

Here are a few wines to try during national Curry Week. 

Artisan Gewurztraminer 2016, Tasmania (Aldi £10.99) is a bit of a surprise to find on Aldi’s wine shelves and I do wonder how it will be received, which is a shame as this is lovely wine.

It’s very fresh, with that classic Gewurztraminer nose of lychees, Turkish Delight and a little spice, the palate is very clean, with nicely judged acidity and a twist of spice on the dry-ish finish.

I think this would work well with Thai-style curries or those curries that have quite a high fruit content.

I think new world chardonnay can work well quite well with curry as long as they are not over-oaked and I really liked Vandenberg Chardonnay 2018, Adelaide Hills (Co-op £10.00).

There is a little oak here but it’s just in the background, the nose shows lime, nectarine and some fleshy stone fruits, followed by a refreshing, stone fruit-led palate with a nice fresh, elegant finish.

Try this with tandoori chicken or milder fish curries.

Lastly, Limestone Riesling 2017, Pflaz (Aldi £6.49) is a good curry all-rounder.

There is citrus fruit and some bright acidity, it’s simple, refreshing wine with no great complexity but it’s not trying to pretend to be anything else. 

And with a curry that’s all you need.