Thursday, 22 March 2012

Currying favour

Curries are a tough proposition when it comes to wine. The heat tends to overpower everything. Beer is normally my tipple of choice when faced with a chicken madras.

According to conventional thinking, a wine must be imbued with a certain degree of sweetness to combat the inherent spiciness of the dish. Funnily enough, I recently watched a short feature on German television on how well Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese copes with even the most searingly spicy food. They filmed a couple of human guinea pigs at a renowned Mosel winery trying a variety of hot and spicy delights and then proceeding to wash these morsels down with the aforementioned dessert wine. Apparently, the sticky liquid mastered everything put its way - even the wasabi. Fantastic. But you see the snag, don't you? Cracking open a Trockenbeerenauslese every time you have a curry isn't the most cost-effective option for most people, to put it (chicken korma) mildly.

The alternative is to resort to Gewürztraminer.

"Gewürz" is German for spice. The following specimen was inherited from some friends who, as previously noted in this blog, left for a sojourn in the US last autumn:

Domaine Halbeisen, Gewurztraminer "Vieilles Vignes" 2009, Alsace, France
Being from Alsace, it's Gewurztraminer without the umlaut, thank you very much.

Spice, cloves and roses on the nose. A bit of heat from the alcohol, too. Creamy and succulent in the mouth but rather simple in taste. This wine is also quite sweet despite its relatively whopping 13.5% alcohol. Certainly with scant acidic backbone, it becomes hard work after a while, making me feel quite full even after just one glass.

Poor old Gewürz - you either love it or hate it.

However, this one's saving grace is it's suitability with curry. My better half made a vegetarian version with cashew nuts, fresh spinach and raisins to accompany it: not overly spiced but hot enough to repel most wines.

Yet this particular wine coped admirably.

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