Essence of India
The safest match with the Raan lamb dish is a reasonably full-flavoured Central Otago Pinot Noir but a big, soft and peppery Hawke’s Bay Syrah would also work well. I’d choose a rich, medium/dry Pinot Gris to help emphasise the flavours in the chickpea and spinach with cumin. The same wine is a good choice for the side dish of pumpkin with curry leaves. Viognier is an inspired match for creamy coconut and cardamom chicken curry while a reasonably dry Gewurztraminer is just the ticket with saffron pilau.
Flavour intensity and sweetness are the two major considerations when choosing wines to suit spicy desserts. It is important to choose a wine that is slightly sweeter than the dish, Sweetness in food tends to reduce our perception of sweetness and there’s a danger the wine might taste slightly bitter. Gewurztraminer is the absolutely perfect choice for either the spiced pears or spiced oranges. Choose a moderately sweet example if you can. The spiced tamarillos dish has flavour strength, sweetness and acidity to consider. A Pinot Noir Rosé has all the necessary qualities for a perfect marriage.
First published in Taste Magazine NZ – Aug 2012.