Wine & Food: Pairing Wine With Spicy Dishes

You can’t pair wine with spicy dishes! We’ve heard this phrase far too many times, and anyone who believes it is preventing their taste buds from having a truly exceptional experience. There is a vast world out there filled with amazing dishes that pack a punch, and there is a place on the table for a bottle of wine as well.

Some Notes on Pairing Wine and Spice

  • Aromatic white and sparkling wines are great for lighter spicy dishes, such as salads, vegetable dishes or seafood. Try a Gewürztraminer.
  • If you have spice and some sweetness in the dish, go for an off-dry wine (with some residual sugar) like a feinherb Riesling.
  • Dry, richer white wines work well with moderately-spiced creamy curries. Try a fruity, unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay.
  • Often, a fruit-forward red wine works well with generously spiced meats. Make sure the wine has enough body, otherwise the food will overpower the wine. Also, be careful with heavily oaked wines, as the tannins and spice tend to clash with each other.
  • Consider the method of preparation of the dish – Tandoor-cooked dishes have smoky notes, and look for these smoky aroma characteristics in your wine as well. If deep-fried appetizers (with mild spice) are on the menu, definitely opt for the bubbly.
  • Now join us as we explore four easy-to-make dishes from around the world that will make your taste buds sizzle and crave a perfect pairing.

Spicy Tandoori Chicken Recipe and Wine Pairing

A platter of Tandoori Chicken, a classic and spicy dish that is perfect to pair with wine.

A rich blend of spices with refreshing yoghurt and lime form the marinade for tender tandoori chicken. We suggest a fruit-forward Pinot Noir with this Indian classic, where the fruit and acidity nicely contrast the many different flavours of the dish.

Jjamppong Recipe and Wine Pairing

A close up shot of a bowl of Jjampong, this is a spicy noodle and seafood soup. Spicy pairing for wine.

A Korean-Chinese favourite, jjamppong is a satisfying dish consisting of a red, spicy broth with seafood, meat, vegetables and noodles. A chilled, medium-bodied rosé can stand up to these intense flavours.

Efo Riro Recipe and Wine Pairing

A bowl of Efo-riro and swallow dishes known as fufu on a plate. Spicy spinach stirred with meat.

Efo riro is a Nigerian spinach stew with meat, spices and tons of flavour. It’s eaten with rice or fufu (a type of cassava dough) or rice and plantains. A nicely chilled, crisp Riesling would be its match, but a fruity Zinfandel could work, too.

Spicy Slow Cooker Lamb Vindaloo and Wine Pairing

Close up shot of a bowl of spicy lamb vindaloo.

Lamb Vindaloo is originally from Goa, where local chefs adapted the Portuguese meat dish ‘carne de vinha d’alhos’. The red wine was replaced with vinegar, and lots of chillies were added. Pair with a wine that is aromatic and not too high in alcohol, like this sparkling Gewürztraminer.

If you are feeling spicy, join WineCollective today. You’ll get a selection of curated wines that are only available to WineCollective members delivered to your door each month, accompanied by wine pairing suggestions so that you can continue to explore new and exciting flavour experiences.