Diverse flavours demand diverse wines
Thai food is more diverse and varied than just hot curries and chilli-studded stir fries. The different regions of the country, from north to south, contribute their own unique styles and flavours. Let’s look at some of the most successful wine and Thai food matches.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine
A great place to start when matching wine with Thai food is with Champagne or sparkling wine. Even though these wines are dry and crisp, they can work reasonably well with the aromas and spices of Thai dishes. Think of characters like lemongrass, ginger, galangal, tamarind and basil in Thai food and you can see how well these flavours can coincide with the crisp citrus, pear and spiced apple notes of Champagne or Sparkling wines. Be careful with chilli, though. Too much heat in the food can have the effect of making the wine seem harsh and acidic.
Rosé Wine – the crisp choice
Probably the best and most successful wine match for Thai dishes across the spectrum, from salads, stir-fries, noodles and curries is a glass of cool, crisp Rosé. The fresh fruit flavours and dry character of the wine work beautifully in harmony with the flavours, texture, weight and even chilli heat of Thai food. Rosé flavours vary from sweet and luscious to bracing and crisp, so it’s up to you to find one that works best with your palate. Australian Rosé wines tend to be more fruit-driven than French or Spanish Rosé, which can tend to be drier and less fruity. You might find that an austere, elegant European Rosé works well with a fresh, crunchy salad, while a ripe, sweeter Australian style sings with a rich, flavoursome curry or spicy stir fry.
Red Wines and Thai Food
Even though you might think Thai food is too spicy and aromatic to pair with red wines, there are some combinations that can work beautifully. Lighter-bodied reds with upfront fruit characters and a more simple structure like Pinot Noir, Grenache-based blends with spicy raspberry characters, Merlot, Zinfandel (also known as Primitivo), Sangiovese all can work harmoniously with Thai food. Try to avoid wines with heavy oak treatment or firm tannins as they will taste out of balance and one-dimensional alongside the delicate or spicy flavours of Thai food.
If all else fails, and you really can’t find a wine to match Thai food, try beer – Thai brands Singha, Leo or Chang are all worthy Thai food matches.
Sweet White Wine
Sweeter or off-dry whites work superbly with spices and herbs in Thai food. Off-dry Riesling, with a slight hint of sweetness on the finish and tropical fruit and white flower characters provides an ideal contrast and platform to carry the flavours and spice in Thai dishes. Sweeter and more aromatic wines like Gewurtztraminer or delicate wines like Moscato provide a smart match for Thai dishes.
- Thai Food
- Food Pairing