Indian Food and Wine: Riesling, a “Classic” Pairing

Tiffin and wine is my new indulgence over the weekends: with nowhere to go, sipping and snacking is a great way to add a spark to languid afternoons. And so, I am starting a new series of posts on this blog about how to pair various Indian foods with wine! And what better place to begin such an endeavour than with one of the most popular Indian food and wine pairings of all?

While I love exploring and experimenting when it comes to wine, I also appreciate “classic” pairings so to speak, and like Muscadet and oysters, and Champagne and celebrations, I think Indian food and off-dry Riesling make a lovely, if obvious, match for one another.

Today, I paired this refreshing, gracefully sweet 2017 Riesling with spicy chilli paneer and bell peppers: the apple, citrus, and dulcet honeyed notes of the wine complimented the sweet and sour and spice flavour of the chilli paneer so harmoniously! In general, a well-made Riesling should be a good pairing option with this sort of flavouring, but it should also work well with most Indian dishes that are spicy, oily, and/or creamy, including vegetarian foods.

Riesling is lovely by itself, but some people find off-dry Rieslings a touch too sweet and/or acidic. With food, especially rich Indian food, this shouldn’t be the case. I think off-dry wines like this one are a great accompaniment to rich and spicy Indian food: the contrasting sweetness helps one appreciate the flavours of the spices anew; while the wine’s crispness cuts the richness of oily or creamy sauces. 

Side note: I ran out of time and determination, and therefore, didn’t make any chutney to serve with the paneer. The wine is a great workaround to that, as it supplies the necessary acidic accompaniment to foods that are traditionally served with chutneys or pickles for added tanginess.

If you’d like to give this pairing a try and you’re in Ontario, the wine is available at the LCBO!