A more challenging pairing
I just love a good curry, and what a diverse range of flavours we encounter here. I inevitably end up with too much on the plate as I am prone to add copious amounts of raisins, cut up banana, peanuts and, of course, chutney. It is common to feel that beer should be the accompanying beverage of choice. At the risk of alienating some of my fellow co-workers who very successfully market a wide range of beers, I will suggest that a carefully chosen wine is an option as well.
A recent New York Times article informed us that when the Brits arrived in India, as there was no tradition of alcoholic beverages, they bought their own beer.
Also, as they were not used to such an array of exotic flavours and spices, they found that beer masked the unique spiciness and muted the overall impact of the food. This suited them and if it still does, that is fine, but they sure seem to like this particular food scene today.
Usually the names that come up first for this type of meal are riesling and gewurztraminer. As far back as I can remember, Dr Loosen's sophisticated rieslings from the steep slopes of Germany's Mosel River Valley have been the benchmark among some of our world's most treasured vineyards. It was in 1988 that Ernst Loosen assumed control of the land that has been in his family's hands for over 200 years.
In April of this year, Wine Enthusiast magazine rated their entry-level riesling a “Best Buy” and wrote: “A dusting of pollen and saffron accentuates this bright, sunny riesling full of peach and nectarine flavours. Off-dry in style, it is juicy and thirst-quenching, but thoroughly four-square in structure, bolstered by a foundation of fresh, revitalising acidity.” The viticulture is sustainable according to strict German environmental regulations. Dr Loosen Riesling 2015 sells for $16.65.
Alsace Willm Gewürztraminer Reserve goes for $20.95 a bottle and to write about it is taking a wee gamble as our warehouse is out of stock, but there should be some in our shops. If not, then our records show that it should arrive four days before this story is published. Gewurz is actually the German word for spicy and this “spicy” traminer can certainly stand up to Thai, Chinese, Moroccan and Indian dishes with its aromatic intensity and exotic fruits. Like the riesling, it has some residual sugar that is above the half of one per cent threshold where our taste buds begin to detect sweetness.
You may not have thought about beaujolais lately, but it truly is a charming wine and the Gamay grape, from which it is made, rather enjoys being paired with Eastern fare. Our Drouhin 2014 Beaujolais Villages is bright purple in colour with an intense nose reminiscent of violets, peonies and red berries. It is silky smooth and quite delicious. $16.80.
Hearty red grapes like grenache, syrah (shiraz) and mourvedre are often recommended so how could you go wrong with a GSM from Australia? We have the Barossa Valley Estate 2013 GSM which consists of 45 per cent grenache, 41 per cent shiraz and 14 per cent mourvedre, which is similar to many a Chateauneuf-du Pape blend, so this is a possible alternative. The alluring exotic spice and vibrant flavours of red plum and fresh blackberry managed to get it 90/100 and a “Smart Buy” from Wine Spectator. $26.35.
Another way to inexpensively enjoy a blend of grenache and syrah is to try a bottle of Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone Belleruche 2014 for $16.90. Michael Chapoutier is one of the largest biodynamic farmers in France and he is respected as being one of the leading producers in the Rhone area. This wine is well structured with aromas of red fruits, particularly Morello cherries.
I end by saying that it can be a bit of a toss-up, but nothing ventured, nothing gained and the reasonable prices of these wines make them well worth a try with spicy dishes.
•This column is a paid for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Michael Robinson is Director of Wine at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George's (York Street, 297-0409). A selection of their wines, beers and spirits is available online at www.wineonline.bm.