josh-periloThe thing about pairing spicy food and wine isn’t so much “what should you drink,” but more “what shouldn’t you drink.” Wines to avoid are red wines that are high in tannin, any wine that is high in alcohol, and anything that is heavily oaked. These are all ingredients that fare poorly with a piquant dish.

That being said, there are some easy go-to’s to remember if you’re stuck making the big vino decision for the table.  If you‘re having Thai, I would recommended a Gerwurztraminer.  Usually fermented leaving a touch of sweetness, this grape produces wines with complex floral and lychee notes, accenting the complex flavors of Thai cooking perfectly. The 2008 Chateau St. Michelle Gewurztraminer from Columbia Valley, Washington is a great example of this.

American Mexican food tends to go spicy, often using tomato as a base. It’s good to match that acidity with a little acidity in the wine, as well. A New Zealand Pinot Noir like the 2007 Brancott Vineyards Pinot Noir is light enough on tannin that it won’t mess with the spice, but also sports a refreshing tang that will mingle well with any tomato involved.

The Korean delicacy (and maybe my favorite condiment of all time) kimchi is tricky to match a wine with.  One of the few things I’ve tried that really works is Portugal’s Vinho Verde. It is crisp, low in alcohol, and slightly fizzy. It acts as the perfect foil to the intense and bold flavors of kimchi, and a great example of this light and fun wine is 2009 Casal Garcia Vinho Verde Branco.

Now, the next time you visit Blue Parrot, you don‘t have to confine yourself to a Margarita. Unless you want to, of course.

By To27 Contributor Josh Perilo, Sommelier at Theatre District restaurant Joe Allen and Penniless Epicure Columnist

Read more of Josh’s To27 Column “Wine Head”

About The Author

Leave a Reply