Wine with Indian Cuisine

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I love Indian food and I love wine, but can the two be reconciled? Should we just forget it, and reach for the beer?

Well, I’m not that into the really hot curries, so the answer is, yes: for me, they can work well together. I drank some great German rieslings, both trockens and off-dry wines from the relatively warm Rheinhessen region, with a home-cooked Indian meal last week, and was surprised at how well the wines coped with the food.

The menu consisted of a rice pilaf with lots of raisins; Palak Paneer, a creamy spinach dish with Indian Paneer cheese; and Mughal Prawns in a Green Korma, with a strong cardamom influence. It was made with the bluest tiger prawns I’ve ever seen, sparkling fresh from the Sydney Fish Market. Finally there was a hotter vegetable curry, which for me did not work so well with wine, so I’ll leave that out of the discussion.

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The whites were new releases from Keller (tastings), but we also tried a couple of reds: Hardy’s Eileen Hardy Pinot Noir 2012 (tasting) and Cirillo 1850s Ancestor Vines Barossa Grenache 2009 (tasting). Both of these are soft, low tannin, medium-bodied reds with some fruit sweetness, and both worked very well.

The Keller line-up began with the new vintage 2013 of the entry-level Riesling Trocken (tasting), and progressed to four fantastic wines: 2012 Nierstein Hipping ‘R’ Trocken Grosses Gewachs, 2011 Nierstein Hipping ‘R’ (a slightly sweeter, non-GG wine), 2012 Westhofen Brunnenhauschen Trocken Grosses Gewachs Abts E, and then the climax, 2010 Abts E: a mesmerisingly great wine. Full notes on the last four will be posted next month.

These are rare and expensive wines, the likes of which I seldom get to taste – but by extrapolation, any fully-ripe, top-quality trocken or off-dry riesling (not necessarily German: try Grosset Alea tasting) is worth a go. 

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