PAIRS BEST WITH: Aromatic & Crisp whites or Fruity reds with good acidity

ALSO CONSIDER: Rich whites and Smooth or Powerful reds

Ethnic foods are a broad category and one of the greatest challenges they present, in relation to wine pairing, is how to find a match for hot and spicy foods. Many people opt for an ice-cold beer, which is often perfect. However, there are wines that can go very well with these dishes.

The first thing to say is that tannic wines should be avoided, as they will clash with hot spicy foods. Generally it is best to go for unoaked white wines, with ripe juicy fruit and a touch of spice. Better still if the wine is off-dry or medium-dry, as the sweetness cools the palate and helps to carry the flavor of the dish.

If the dish is very hot and spicy, like chilli, it can have the effect of making a dry wine taste even drier. The best styles for these dishes are Aromatic and Crisp style whites. Very popular choices are Gewürztraminer, Riesling (Kabinett & Spätlese) and Sauvignon Blanc.

Fruity red wines with good acidity also work very well, provided the dish is not too hot.

For dishes without aspicy heat your wine options increase, so for these also consider Rich whites and Smooth or Powerful reds.

To find a great pairing for a particular dish or an individual wine, see the Food index on Pocket Wine or go to the Food Pairing section of the relevant grape variety.

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