Pairing Wine with Thai Food
Thai food with its strong flavours, rampant spice and ever present chillies can make the choice of wine to go with it a bit of a challenge. In this article we offer some suggestions as to what to look.
A little sweetness is no bad thing
The slight sweetness and floral notes in an off dry Riesling or Gewurztraminer complement the flavours of Thai food and the sugar mitigates the effect of chilli and spice on the palate. Sweetness in the wine also works well with those dishes which are on the sweet side.
Thai food has a strong acidic content especially the Yam salads and dishes with lime or tamarind. These types of dishes should be matched with a wine that has a good level of acidity. Wines with low acidity will be overwhelmed. A Riesling with its backbone of high acidity is a good choice, particularly with the spicy salad dishes, picking up on the main ingredients such as mint, coriander, lime juice and lemongrass. It can also cope with spicy Tom Yam Soup and Green curry. And can even be paired with strong meat dishes such as duck and lamb.
Look for grape varieties with aromatic fruit flavours
The fruit complements the spice. Wines which have the scent of tropical flowers or exotic fruits will match well with the same notes in Thai dishes. Riesling and other German/Alsace wines such as Gewûrztraminer or Pinot Gris again score well here. Other examples include Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Argentinian Torrontés.
How about some fizz?
Champagne or sparkling wine also works well with Thai food, especially the deep fried dishes. The bubbles cut through the grease and refresh the palate. It can also go with the milder curries such as the Mussaman or Yellow curries.
Rosé may be OK
Rosé with its refreshing white characteristics combined with the sweet aromas of red berries can work well with the wide variety of Thai flavours.
Not too much oak
Oaky wines such as a lot of Chardonnays do not go well with Thai food. So if Chardonnay is your thing look for one with not too much oak.
What about red wine?
The choice of red wine is more limited. Tannins react badly with the spice. So fancy Bordeaux wines and big Australian reds are best avoided. If your preference is for a red wine you might opt for something light and fruity such as a Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais.
We’d love to hear about your experiences of enjoying wine with Thai food.