Talking about which wines go best with Indian food, chef de cave of Alain Ducasse’s Michelin-starred Relais & Chateaux Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, London, says, “Wine is important, but, I think what Indian diners expect more than wine, is flavour”.
Some dishes go better with dry red wines, others with even drier white wines. There are, however, some Indian flavours that can stand up to either style of wine. For instance, some Indian flavours such as pomegranate or coconut need the flavours of acidity, as these are very characteristic of sour wines.
On the other hand, some customers drink a hearty, dark red or black port with Indian food, as it is known to pair very well with many of the same dishes, such as paneer (Indian cottage cheese), nuts, etc., and often add a sense of sophistication to the cuisine.
My favourite wine is vivid and sparkling white gold with silver and intense shades of yellow peach, rockmelon, passion fruit, lemon peel and juniper, and with a touch of white pepper maize. This is Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2017.
I realized that many people would have experienced this same problem without ever discovering the crux of the matter. They would just assume the food was terrible and toss it. Some others would know what the problem was but would not know how to solve it because they do not know the best wines to get. So they end up either avoiding Indian food or having to have it without wine, which is just plain sad. Since then, I have been on a journey to discover the best wines for Indian food in the UK, and I thought I would share my results with you. If you try anyone of that then please feel to let me know your favourite in the comments.
Top 10 Wine with Indian Food UK
This wine is a complete joy and a must-have. It goes very well with Indian meals of every type because it has a pleasant dry taste that does not clash with your food. Instead, it complements it. It is one of SachaLichine’s earlier creations from the Chateau d’Esclans family. Sacha created this one with a clear vision in mind, to make the most sumptuous rose in the world, igniting the rose renaissance. The result is a mouthwatering world-class rose that adds flavour to any Indian cuisine.
- 13.5% alcohol content.
- 2018/ 2019 vintage rose.
- Rasberry taste.
- 8.65 kg in weight.
If you love bubbles as much as I do, you will love this champagne. I can tell you it is delicious. It does well for the price, and it complements a plate of chicken curry superbly. Unlike most champagnes, this one does not have a harsh taste. It is smooth and sweet, just like bubbles should be.
- Non-vintage wine
- 12% of alcohol content
- 750 ml of liquid content
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Cape Mentelle’s Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2017 is an Australian Margaret River classic wine blend. It is a blend of two grapes with a smooth texture and a fresh, aromatic taste. It is a shiny bright white gold and silver tinged colour. It has a citrusy zesty flavour. It smells like passion fruit, peach with a hint of peppercorn. It is a vintage wine that is enjoyable until five years after its creation.
- It has a shiny bright whitish gold colour
- 12% of alcohol content
- 60% Sauvignon blanc and 40%Semillon
- Dry finish
This bottle of wine from Rapel Valley in Chile has a peculiar story attached to it. It is called the devil’s wine. This is because about a century ago, it was one of the wines in Don Melchor’s wine cellar. When he realized that someone was stealing his wines, he started a rumour that the devil was haunting his basement to dispel thieves from robbing him. Ever since then, the wine is called Casillerodel Diablo or the legend of the devil’s cellar. It has a lovely fruity taste and smells fruity too.
- Produced in Rapel Valley
- 4500 millimetres liquid content
- White wine
- 13% of alcohol content
The Echo Falls pinot grigio rose wine is a perfect blend of strawberry and raspberry. It has a fruit fusion that is delicious and is supposed to be accessible to everyone. It is a refreshing pinkish hue. This wine seems to be targetting a female audience. This assumption is backed by the colour and design of the bottle. There is also the tagline of the wine “phone on silent, girls on loud.”
- Italian white white
- Pinot Grigio
- 12 percent alcohol volume
- Light Rosé with flavours of strawberry and raspberry
Au Bon Climat is a pinot noir blend of strawberry and berries from Santa Barbara, California. It has a very particular aroma that is intense and supple. The wine has a shelf life of six to seven years. In all, it is a perfect blend, and I encourage you to try it. You can pair with meaty Indian meals like tandoori chicken.
- 2017 vintage wine
- 13.5 percent alcohol content
- 750 millilitres liquid content
- Aromas of strawberries and blackberries slowly emerge from the bottle. Overtime, these other aromas will combine more of the anise and clove – best would be Indian chicken curry.
The Berry Bros & Rudd Wine Merchants Red Burgundy Pinot Noir is a robust and elegantly refined wine that comes with an intense red – berry fruit taste. It has a lovely aroma that tickles the senses with a floral scent. This wine is elegant and very well refined.
- Red pinot Nero wine
- 2017 vintage
- 12.5 percent alcohol volume
- This wine is elegant and refined, with its crunchy fruit of redberry, silky tannins and floral fragrance. It does not require further aging and is an excellent match for Indian red-meat dishes like fish, game or light meat.
The den Cheninblanc is a wine of African origin. It has a sweet taste that is a mixture of peach, guava and lemon. It has an incredible layered texture and superb finish. It is an oak blend. It can accompany Indian foods with a strong spicy flavour and chicken and trout based foods. It has a mineral and wood aroma too.
- This wine is medium bodied with a vivid, fresh finish of some duration and notable persistent acidity with delicate aromas of quince, melon, spicy oak and vanilla.
- White wine
- 12.5 percent alcohol volume
- 75 cl volume
- Made in South Africa
This wine has a lovely aroma that reminds you of freshly baked bread drizzled with honey. It tastes the same way too. It has a lemon greenish hue, and it has a zesty taste with a dry finish. The wine has some characteristics of the Eden Valley lime juice. The wine is a vintage that comes to full maturity after five to ten years. It was produced by Peter Lehmann.
- Bright citrus coloured with a green hue of fresh baked bread and honey
- 11.5 percent alcohol content
- 2013 vintage
- Made in Australia
- 75cl liquid content
The De BortoliWillowglenriesling is an excellent blend of Gewurztraminer and Riesling that gives off a spicy and citrusy smell. It is a golden hue mixed with rose petals. It pairs okay with seafood Indian cuisine, curries and other spicy Indian foods. It was produced in Victoria, Turkey.
- I love its characters of Traminer ‘s sweet rosewater supplemented by the Riesling with a freshness of citrus – perfect to go with Indian egg curry
- Australian white wine
- 12.5 per cent alcoholic content
- 80% of Gewurztraminer and 20% of Riesling mixture
- 2015 vintage
Wine With Indian Food UK Product Guide
There is absolutely nothing like a good glass of wine to spice up a meal and add some flavour to an otherwise bland dish. There is this joy when you finally find the best wine accompaniment to a particular meal type. I think all of us can agree that Indian food is delicious. Still, it also usually has an intense flavour, which is also very spicy. As great as Indian food is, if you don’t accompany it with the right type of wine (preferably something simple), it just tastes wrong. You never can precisely decipher what is wrong, but you know something is.
I had an Indian take-out with a group of friends last week. We gather in someone’s house every couple of days to gorge on taking out, wine and catch up. Fun times you know. So we dug into the meal with vigour as usual and sipped on our wine. At a particular point, the conversation started to stall, and I could see everyone had this funny, slightly dissatisfied look on their faces.
Then Susan, a part of the group, speaks up and says, “Is it just me or something is wrong with this food.” Then Paige replies, “It is not the food; it is the wine.” After a lengthy debate and several taste tests of the food, the wine, then the food and wine, we realized the issue was the combination of the food and the wine. They just did not go well together.
I know I have given you so many wine options to pair with your Indian food that it might be a bit overwhelming to choose which one you want. I know a thing or two about indecision, too, especially when faced with a mix of the best wine options that would all pair effortlessly with my favourite Indian cuisines. I have a buying guide that will help you decide the best wine choices for you as a person. The goal is that after going through this buying guide, you can choose the best wine for you.
Vintage does not mean better
The idea that vintage wines are better is a myth. Because a bottle of wine has been in existence for over a thousand years does not necessarily mean it is better than a 2020 bottle. The quality of wine mostly depends on the producer and the blend used in creating the wine. I have had 2015, 2016 and 2018 wines amazing, and then I had some vintage bottles that just did not cut it. Some producers create wines that need a long ageing process because of the acidity and alcohol level. Some wine producers carry out the ageing process themselves. So the wine is already ready to drink once you get it.
Price vs budget
I am a wine person, so whenever I go shopping, I spare no expense to get the best wine bottles I want. This is why I make sure I have a budget ready and waiting, so I do not get so excited and spend a month’s pay on wine alone. I know how hard it is to want a bottle of wine that is way above my pay grade. You may have even tasted it, and you know it would go so well with your SaagPaneer, but alas, you can not get it because it is not within your budget. Make sure to buy the best choice within your budget at all times.
What type of food are you going to pair it with
Different types of Indian cuisine pairs are better with various wine types than others. Before picking a particular bottle of wine, you should choose based on the type of Indian cuisine you prefer. Riesling wines are great with curry dishes like rogan josh, masalas and red meat dishes. Roses are best paired with heavy meat dishes like lamb. Pinot noir goes well with most meals, especially paneer, chicken and seafood dishes. Champagnes complement dishes like makhanibalti, potatoes, paneer and saag. Sauvignon blanc bottles work with tandoori prawns and tikka dishes.
Is it light or heavy?
I tend to prefer light wines that melt on your tongue and have an aloof yet alluring taste. Because of this, I am always on the lookout for light wines. To know the difference between light and heavy wines, you should always check the label at the back of the bottle. Heavy wines get made with the oak influence while light wines are from stainless steel. Heavy wines are usually harder to pair with Indian meals, so you should be wary of that.
What blend is it?
I had this glass of wine last year when I got invited to a friend’s house warming party. It was unique. It had this sweet, fruity, light taste that was just amazing. I could not get it out of mind for weeks after. However, I made the mistake of not asking for the name when I could. I am still heartbroken now. No red wine has ever hit the right spot that well since then. If you have a particular blend that you like, it is best to keep that and buy wine that suits your palette. Also, if you tend to favour wines made in specific regions, then keep to it. However, you should know that not every wine from the same region tastes the same.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
Do red wines pair well with Indian food?
Contrary to popular belief, some types of red wine complement Indian food quite well. Most pinot noir red wines can go really well with Indian foods like tandoori chicken and vegetarian dishes. A light red wine is usually the best option in such cases.
Are there particular grapes to avoid when pairing with Indian food?
Yes, there are. When searching for the right wine types, check the back of the label for particular grapes. Some of these are grapes like Carmenere grapes, Garganega, and rioja grapes. These grapes have a fruity, spicy flavour that will pair well with Indian foods instead of clashing with them. Indian foods do not go well with Albarino grapes because the tangy flavour of Indian foods can cancel out the taste of the wine.
Are screwtop wines good for Indian foods?
Not necessarily. You can not choose or discard a wine just because it has a corkscrew. The same rule applies to screw-top wines too. Gone are the days when a screwtop signifies low quality or low prices. Now some delicious wines also come with screwtops, and they would give any corkscrew bottle a run for its money.
Best Wine with Indian Desserts
Indian desserts are also very sweet and also include milk, rice and nuts. Equally delicate wine matches such as Moscato, Riesling or dessert are worth the taste of Indian desserts. Evitate wines with too much acidity and taste harsh along with indigenous desserts, and look instead for wines with smoother acidity and sweet fruits.
With the numerous wines to choose from, we know that making a decision can be hard. So for the premium, we recommend the Peter Lehmann Wigan Riesling Eden Valley 2013 Wine. And for the best value, you can go for the Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose Brut NV Champagne. And the cheapest would go to Willowglen De Bortoli Gewurztraminer Riesling White Wine.