Finding a wine to pair with Indian food often leaves people at a loss. The spices are many and the flavors strong. The idea of pairing with anything other than beer is a relatively new phenomenon. This helpful New York Times article provides guidelines and specifics for common dishes.
What works are low-alcohol varieties like Rieslings because they don’t accentuate the heat in Indian food. And slightly spicy grapes like Gewurztraminers make for a good pairing because they balance out the spiciness in the curries and masalas.
Fruit-forward and slightly sweet picks, as well as moderately acidic grapes like the white chenin blanc from France, are also good matches. And since Indian cuisine is an amalgamation of different spices, a wine with a blend of grapes can stand up to the myriad of flavors in the dishes.
Tandoori chicken: A German riesling that is between 15 and 20 years old
Dum aloo: A red Rhône like the Saint-Joseph varieties
Saag paneer: Chardonnay
Chana masala: Chenin blanc
Gulab jamun: Gewürztraminer
One of the most surprisingly suggestions is champagne “because the added sugar gives the drink a richness that complements Indian food. The acidity balances out the acid in the cuisine, and the bubbles bring in a layer of texture.”
Have you tried to pair Indian food with a wine? What type of wine and how did it go?