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What's a good red wine to go with spicy food?


As title I occasionally like a curry at the weekend, (mild/medium hot), and I like a red wine with this food. Ive always wondered the preferred grape for spicy food.

I have a lot of Rioja but I didn’t think that compliments it well?

I don’t have a big selection currently, but what I do have is the following, what would be your pick out of what I have and maybe what you think is better with spicy food ?

I currently have:

Syrah / Mourvedre


On that list I would go for the Zin.


Of those, I’d go for the Syrah Mourvedre.

The precise wine I do actually go for in that situation is Ksara Le Prieuré - Cinsault 30%, Carignan 30%, Grenache 20%, Mourvedre 20%. It feels light (though 13%) and fruity, but with what I would call an edgy spiciness that seems to make it a more serious wine.


Thanks chaps.

Fruity, yeah I think I read a fruity wine goes better with spicy food? where as something like a Rioja I guess you could say is has a more spicy tone and despite the comparison does not help with spicy food.
I could be completely wrong on that.

A few years ago, I found myself by accident drinking a chilled Mourvedre with spicy food, and it actually worked surprisingly okay. So I’d probably also go for the Syrah Mourvedre one myself.


I think that’s often the case with Rioja, but I have certainly had some that have been fruity.

Wines of the various varieties and regions all have their typical styles - apart from the ones that don’t :slight_smile:

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You want something fruity without any tanin. Blossom Hill might do it.
Beer or gin and tonic or a dark rum and coke would also work.


I always thought Rioja was one of the go-to wines with a curry, no? Being generally low in tannin, alcohol and medium bodied?

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I thought I read it wasn’t but as above there is different varieties.

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Different Riojas, different curries and different palates I guess. I’ve seen all sorts of wine recommended for spicy food and curries, and come to the conclusion that there is no consensus. I wouldn’t drink Rioja with curry, but then I wouldn’t often drink Rioja anyway - not that I dislike it especially - it’s just a bit off my radar. I would often drink beer with curries, but I do like the abovementioned Ksara with milder spiced dishes.

To be honest, I think the more general consensus over matching wine with European food is more down to tradition and convention than actual taste experience. But it’s worth sticking to regardless, as it keeps people happy, so everyone can just get on with eating and drinking rather than fretting about the “wrong” wine being served.


From TWS themselves no less…


(And it appears anything medium bodied, fruity and high in acid seems to be the Venn diagram containing all the buzzwords).


I see TWS suggests old-fashioned Rioja, Gewurtz, or Californian Zin. That is a vast range of wine with little in common - which kind of illustrates the point I made in my last post!



I would generally stay away from anything with high acidity as it accentuates the perception of heat from the curry ….
I think my go to here would also be the Syrah/Mourvèdre as it would be a more moderate match than the Zinfandel for example …


Fruity, low tannin, low alcohol, not too complicated and slightly chilled is the ideal partner for many curries IMO, which for me means beaujolais.

Or lambrusco, but that might not be the sort of red you had in mind.

If coconut is prominent it’s a whole different ballgame. I could be persuaded by a fruity rioja then, with lamb or chicken.


At the risk of being cancelled by many in this group, if you’re talking really spicy food, like you get in west Africa or northeast Brazil, then only beer will do. Southern Indian food could also be included with the above.

Keep your Clos St Hune to go with your white asparagus.


I’m in the low tannin camp, unless you want to accentuate the spice.

What I would drink would be an off dry Alsace white blend. Probably wouldnt risk a prized aged riesling as I think it would work but not sure its the best way to appreciate the wine. Cono sur reserva especial riesling (under £10, in Tesco) worked for me the other week and the acidity wasnt a problem.

You asked about reds. I’ve mostly only had unfavourable matches provided by hosts. That sounds ungrateful
It isnt meant to be, the wine was objectively good quality, just not a good match with the food to my palate, and was people choosing wines they enjoy, which I would normally advocate. Personally I would avoid most rioja, bordeaux, rhone etc unless you know they’re young and fruity. Lightly chilled beaujolais (or loire gamay, or marcillac?) could be interesting, or possibly something greek or lebanese as suggested by others.

Ultimately though it depends if you like those styles of wine. No point choosing beaujolais if you’re not a gamay fan.

The other thing you could do is look at what some of the top indian restaurants use for their matching wine flights, which might give you different ideas for different flavours. Take a look at the Cinnamon Club’s vegan tasting menu as an example which I see includes bordeaux.

www.Indian Food & Drink Menus | Cinnamon Club

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I wonder if you’d also get away with a Zweigelt. Seems to work well with lightly spiced Chinese dishes.


This is the one I had last night and its a really nice red, and a really reasonable price as well.



No questions on what kind of curry? Possibly the assumption of Indian curry, but even then there are so many different kinds, with different spices and different levels of heat. Then there are Thai curries, Vietnamese, and so on. And of course many different things that could be in the curry.
I don’t eat meat so I eat fish and vegetables and pulses in my curries which tend to be either Indian or Thai style. The Indian ones usually get accompanied by beer and the Thai style by white wine, mostly in the Riesling, Gewurtz, SB sort of range. I can’t remember the last time I had red wine and curry.


I had one of the Spice Tailor Butter Chicken kits from the supermarket , it was quite mild. Actually really nice as well, don’t tend to bother with takeaways much now.