Wines + Spicy Dishes — The Ultimate Pairings

With spicy cuisines like Thai, Indian, and Mexican, beer seems like the go-to beverage. We get it — wine seems too fancy for the likes of tacos. But, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Bold dishes with rich layers of sweet, sour, and salty deserve drink counterparts as equally complex. The acidity in wine enhances flavors and softens heat extremes.
But, not just any wine will do. The trick is pairing the bottle with your dish’s sauce instead of the main ingredient (chicken, beef, fish, etc.) Always pay attention to the sauce’s flavor and profile over the texture. A general rule of thumb? The spicier the dish, the more wet and complex your wine should be.
Skip the high-alcohol content of Merlots and Cabernets and oaky Chardonnays. Instead, reach for refreshing, crisp varieties with low tannin counts and medium to low alcohol. A riesling, Gewürztraminer, Viognier, or a crisp Argentinian Torrontés are your best friends — with just the right notes of sweetness. If you opt for a red, make sure it's fruit focused like Zinfandels and crisp Rhones. Most rosés will balance the heat of the spiciest dishes.
Ahead, the bottles and dishes to get your pairings spot on. Buy them tonight, enjoy them this weekend. Oh, and don’t forget to sip as you cook.

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