What wine do you pair with Indian food? An orange wine will match the food not just in color but taste too.
Orange wine may be the best match with sushi, but it shines brightly next to rich Indian curries too.
Wine @ the Indian buffet?
Indian food can be difficult to pair with wine with its rainbow of spices, varying levels of capsicum heat, and unctuous, bold flavors.
In addition, not many Indian restaurants I’ve frequented have an extensive wine list. The average mom and pop eatery may have some beer and a couple red and white wines.
Before you reach for a sweet chai tea or mango lassi to sweep the curry heat off its feet (and your tongue), an orange wine may be just the cooling (and intoxicating) beverage you need spice up your meal even more.
What is Orange Wine?
Also known as skin contact wine, it is made by leaving the skins on white wine grapes for a few hours to a few months after crushing.
Unlike a rosé, where red wine grapes are macerated with the skins to leave a blush of color, orange wines are left to ferment with the skins for longer.
The result is a blend of acid from the white wine and tannins and polyphenols from the skin that form a panoply of flavor compounds you just won’t find in an ordinary white wine.
Orange Wine with Curry
I brought a bottle to my local Indian restaurant and paid the whopping $10 corkage to see if the orange wine would indeed play nice with a curry.
Test #1: Pair with Goan Prawn Curry
This turmeric colored gravy is thickened with coconut milk and soured with tamarind. The plump King prawns matched the overall sweetness of the sauce.
Paired with the orange wine, the curry brought out the acidity in the wine. Kind of like a sip of lemon drop cocktail.
Test #2: Pair with Lamb Rogan Josh – Winner
Chunks of lamb are braised in a spicy sauce typically with cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom.
With the orange wine, the spiciness in the curry brought out a pleasantly sweet aftertaste and the winning combination of the evening.
Test #3: Pair with Tandoori Chicken
They say that you should match the color of your food to the color of the wine. White wine = chicken and fish. Red wine = red meat.
Tandoori chicken is orange, so doesn’t orange wine make sense with it?
The orange wine went better with curries, but it didn’t clash with the tandoori chicken either. However, squeezing fresh lemon juice on the tandoori chicken helped match the acidity in the orange wine.
It appears to play nice with every option you may encounter at the all you can eat Indian buffet too.
Why does Orange Wine work with Indian food?
I’ve had terrible experiences with wine and Indian food that did not result in a 3rd taste so much as a 3rd world war in my mouth where every flavor died in an alloy apocalypse. (Hint: don’t try it with a big Napa red wine like Alpha Omega).
You could drink a white wine with Indian food or a light red wine without much tannin would work too.
However, orange wine is cooling due to its cold temperature, and it has a texture that white wine does not weaved from the tannin in the grape skins.
It is that robust richness that appears to match the viscous Indian curries that are heavier than Southeast Asian ones.
Oregon Orange Wine
2015 Farmlands Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon ($21)
What makes this bottle a gem is not just its amber hue but also its demeter certification. Farmlands is a wine label owned by Johan Vineyards, a winery that is committed to biodynamic farming and organic viticultural techniques.
Located in the Williamette Valley in Oregon, there are a number of wineries in the region that share the same ecologically sound practices.
For more info on biodynamic wines from Williamette Valley and foods that go with them, check out these posts from the #winePW crew:
- David of Cooking Chat has prepared “Salmon, Farro and Mushrooms with Winderlea Pinot Noir”
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camila is celebrating with “Simple Pleasures, A Birthday Cheeseboard, & Keeler Estate Vineyards’ 2017 Terracotta Amphorae Riesling“
- Jill of L’Occasion writes about “Peace, Bread, Land and Wine’: A Meal With Brooks Winery“
- Jennifer of Vino Travels will share “Biodynamic Wines of the Willamette Valley with King Estate“
- Lori of Dracaena Wines will present “Continuing the Biodynamic Legacy #WinePW“
- Jane from Always Ravenous pairs “Wild Alaskan Salmon with Herbed Ricotta and Oregon Pinot Noir”
- Pinny of Chinese Food and Wine Pairings combines “Biodynamic Grüner Veltliner and Pinot Noir from Johan Vineyards Plus Surf ‘n’ Turf Dinner”
- Linda of My Full Wine Glass shares “Ode to Oregon: Johan’s Biodynamic Expression of Place (#WinePW)”
- Gwendolyn Alley from Wine Predator will present “Our land is our life and our life is our wine” — Cooper Mountain Pinot Paired with Duck #WinePW
- Wendy Klik A Day in the Life on the Farm discovers “Dammit!! These are some great wines from Willamette.
- Lauren Walsh of The Swirling Dervish will tempt us with “Pork Loin, Mushrooms, and Fiddlehead Ferns Meet Biodynamic Pinot Noir from Bergström Wines (#WinePW)”
- Martin of Enofylz Wine Blog brings us “A Taste of Cooper Mountain Vineyards at the Table #WinePW“
- Jeff of Food Wine Click is pairing “Biodynamic Willamette Valley with Brick House and Harissa Chicken”
- Payal of Keep the Peas is presenting “Living off the Land: King Estate Pinot Noir + Mushroom Pâté”
- Rupal of Syrah Queen is sharing “Maysara Winery – Iranian Immigrants Achieving The American Dream”
- Jade of Tasting Pour will share “Thai Green Curry Rockfish and Montinore Estate Gewurztraminer #WinePW”
- Nicole of Somm’s Table shares “A Hunt for a Biodynamic Williamette Valley Wine: Johan Vineyards Farmland Pinot Noir and Salmon“
Do you love Oregon wine? Please spread the Asian ♥ and share!