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Wine with Thai? Tricky yet do-able

Last week I wrote about which wines to pair with takeout burgers, Mexican and Italian foods.

This week the focus is on the more exotic flavors of Asian, Indian and Thai.

Each cuisine poses particular challenges for wine pairing, but finding the right match isn’t impossible.

For Asian dishes and sushi accented with the hallmark flavors of wasabi, soy sauce and vinegar, it’s important to find a wine that doesn’t compete. Consider Champagne, Riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, gewurztraminer, pinot noir or a custom-made sushi wine.


  • 2009 Hess Select Chardonnay, California (about $13 retail)


  • 2009 Firesteed Riesling, Oregon (about $19 retail)

It’s not that a wine can’t match the spicy tastes of Indian food and curry, but generally the food simply overwhelms the wine. However, not all Indian dishes are fiery hot and many have differing degrees of spiciness. For milder dishes consider sauvignon blanc, viognier and roses but for hotter dishes riper, more full-bodied wines similar to gewurztraminer make the match-up.


  • 2009 Pine Ridge Winery Viognier/Chenin Blanc, California (about $14 retail)


  • 2007 Halleck Vineyard Gewurztraminer, California (about $28 retail)

Thai food is generally hot but the dominant flavors — ginger, lime, lemongrass and coriander — are all surprisingly wine-friendly. Look for wines with high acidity to tackle the spiciness, sparkling to cut through the fat of tempura and avoid tannin at all cost. Ideal match-ups are muscadet, sauvignon blanc, verdelho, chardonnay and albarino.


  • 2008 Root One Chardonnay, Chile (about $12 retail)


  • 2008 Argyle Willamette Valley Chardonnay, Oregon (about $20 retail)