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Experts find wine to better complement Indian food than beer

  • Published at 02:30 pm June 29th, 2018

New York’s restaurateurs have discovered wine to be the better liquor served with spicy Indian food than the conventional beer

Most Westerners assume beer is the go-to beverage with Indian food. However, experts say they should start taking a different approach to the Indian dining experience. Indian food has been riddling wine connoisseurs for ages; its intricate spices and rich sauces have a reputation of having tremendous flavour of their own. While Western dishes rely on beverages like white or red wine to provide balance to the food, Indian dishes do not rely on drinks to complete them.

Countries in the Indian subcontinent such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan have a reputation for having dishes that have a complex and intricate flavour profile. Lumping them together and assuming they only go well with beer undermines their potential. According to the New York Times, sommeliers at Indian restaurants in New York have developed an intimate understanding of how wines can elevate the fine dining experience.

Michael Dolinski, the wine director at Junoon, a sophisticated Indian restaurant at New York City, said European dishes were constructed with wine in mind, unlike their Indian counterpart. European cuisine relies on wine to complete the dish with its fruity, sweet, bitter and tangy and refreshing flavours and their acidic and tannic structures. 

Indian dishes stand on their own with various chutneys and sauces. But that does not mean they can only be enjoyed with beer and not more sophisticated beverages. The challenge is to figure out how the wine can bring balance and harmony to the dish.

Wine connoisseurs suggest dishes from the Indian subcontinent can be enjoyed with lively, moderately sweet wines. German Kabinett and Spatlese Rieslings and Demi-sec Vouvrays from the Loire Valley, which all have plenty of acidity and moderate amount of residual sugar are great options.

Among red wines, spicier wines like Syrah and Cabernet Frac are great options. Anything that is not excessively fruity or oaky is a great way to go. Some suggest that champagne can go really well with fried dishes.