Give wine some curry
It’s easy to become complacent about matching wine and food, and I’m as guilty as anyone for making safe generalisations.
Such as this:
“Young red wine is a no-no with spicy curry. Reach for a beer instead.”
It’s a long time since I’ve had a gob-smacking experience with a wine and food match, but I had one last week, quite by accident.
I made a particularly spicy Thai green curry, with chicken and vegetables (although the choice of solid ingredients with curry is probably immaterial). The heat level was right at my limit of tolerance. Think hopping on one foot and frantically sucking air in. I had opened a bottle of Yarra Valley red, a 2014 Allinda Limited Release Cabernets, which is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and petit verdot. It’s made by Al Fencaros, who flies somewhat under the radar.
A glass of this wine while cooking tasted very good. The fruit was properly ripe, the tannins were soft and fine and easygoing, the acidity balanced. It was medium-bodied and very approachable at nearly four years of age. So far, so good.
Then I had some with the green curry. I was astonished. The wine’s fruit sweetness was enhanced, the tannins melted away to nothing, the fruit flavours were amplified, and the total effect was one of utter deliciousness. The food elevated the wine to a higher plane, in a way I could never have predicted.
Whether I could replicate this experience at a later date with another curry and a different but similar wine, who knows. But I plan to continue experimenting.