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Wine and indian cuisine

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#1 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 10:43 AM

Although some time ago it was thought to impossible, I am noticing a renewed interest in this unlikely marriage.

Any views?

Perhaps our gourmet expert from Belgium may care to share her views.

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#2 Tomato

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 11:09 AM

Waiting to be educated. ;)
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#3 bague25

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 01:23 PM

Wines and Indian food

First of all. Thank you for the compliment CEO. I can return the same and add - I do not have your talents…

This always a delicate question. Mainly because it is not “traditional” (though our ancestors were lovers of soma). I still prefer a good beer with Indian food. I think it’s easier to pair beer with Indian food than wines.

My husband in 1986 refused to even cook with Golconda! There wasn’t even an average or passable quality of wine available. Moreover, imported wines used to cost the earth!

Then in the early nineties Grover was produced. Not a “grand cru” but a very good table wine. I will say even a notch better than table wine. During my last visit to India, I had Chantilly with my food and thought that was not bad too. So finally, the wine scene is coming of age.

Now coming to the Indian food – wine marriage part: I have studied and know how to work with French wines and while I enjoy a good new world wine I do not have enough choice or means of comparison and so my knowledge is limited.

Let me share what I think about French wines and Indian food with you…Do not try to impress your guests with an expensive 20 year old bottle paired with a curry. It’s insulting both the wine and the food. Wines react to various ingredients in food that compliment it or on the other hand are opposed to it. In Indian food, there are too many ingredients (read spices) used; this makes it very easy for a wine to taste horrible when reacting to one or several ingredients.

I tell you of an experience I had. I opened a 15 year old prestigious Bordeaux that we had each a glass of at lunch time – it was wonderful! I then served the same wine in the evening (decanted and all) with patra-ni-machi and it tasted awful! We had the same wine the next day and it was wonderful. Something in the patra-ni-machi altered the taste of the wine.

My “general” advice to those who ask me the question is stick to young wines. For reds Côtes de Rhones, Pays d’OC, Côtes de Hérault work well. For whites go for Reislings from Alsace.

If however, I was given a recipe then I could be more specific in my choice. I have notebook where I jot down my notes on wine pairing. This serves to keep the memories of these wines alive. Some of them I’ll never have again because they are unavailable or too expensive! Again, a wine evolves and a wine that tastes good with a dish today may not do so in a couple of years. All these factors need to be thought of.

You see this subject is very subjective so my main advice is: enjoy your wine.

Edited to add: If you have specific questions I'll be glad to try to reply
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#4 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 02:26 PM

This is always a delicate question. Mainly because it is not “traditional” (though our ancestors were lovers of soma). I still prefer a good beer with Indian food. I think it’s easier to pair beer with Indian food than wines.


I agree but isnt this just a simple matter of 'conditioning'. Example: one may grow up in a Gujarati household and like sweetened food, a deviation which may be anatheme to others.If so doesnt it mean that given time and exposure to more wines we may attune/evolve our senses to Indian food and wine pairing. What do you think?

Wines react to various ingredients in food that compliment it or on the other hand are opposed to it. In Indian food, there are too many ingredients (read spices) used; this makes it very easy for a wine to taste horrible when reacting to one or several ingredients.

Of course there remains this matter of complex spicing for which future trends of Indian cuisine may have to adjust to wines which IMO should be simple spicing, one at a time. Your opinion, please.

Let me share what I think about French wines and Indian food with you…Do not try to impress your guests with an expensive 20 year old bottle paired with a curry. It’s insulting both the wine and the food. Wines react to various ingredients in food that compliment it or on the other hand are opposed to it. In Indian food, there are too many ingredients (read spices) used; this makes it very easy for a wine to taste horrible when reacting to one or several ingredients.


I know what you mean, I was invited to a wine/Indian food tasting and everyone was in general upbeat assent about the free food and wine including some well known experts/columnists. I however chose to differ as some pairings were 'musty' almost leading me to think that the wine was corked. The wine was alright, it was the pairing at fault. Of course they will never invite me again. ;)

I am still hoping that if it is possible to do a bad pairing then the opposite may be also be true.

If however, I was given a recipe then I could be more specific in my choice. I have notebook where I jot down my notes on wine pairing. This serves to keep the memories of these wines alive.

Give us a peek please, say, a mildly spiced leg of lamb.
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#5 bague25

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 03:44 PM

I'm just here for a few more seconds before I dissappear to prepare for Christmas eve...

On the whole I'm quite irritated with wine "gurus" who tell you that this goes well with this. After all one man's meat is another mans poison! I think taste is something personal and it should be discovered - and the best way is by trial and error. Ofcourse wide guidelines can help but nothing precise (eg Chicken Tikka Masala should be served with a Chateau XXX millesium YYY)

I've read several articles where experts give you types of grape that go well with Indian food, and in most of such articles, they end up naming almost all grapes.

Sorry to be so negative but I'm venting...After years of tastings, trying, searching - you realize there's a lot of hot air. I want those starting to appreciate wine to begin with being as less influenced as possible by others...
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#6 Delhi Guy

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 01:10 PM

" I want those starting to appreciate wine to begin with being as less influenced as possible by others... "

I thank you for this inspiration and feel much better with my individualistic preferences of wines. My wife and I have only recently begun our journey through this wonderful world of wines and most of the time we were made to feel very conscious about our choices. Taking a cue from you we will now drink what we like.

Suresh, thank you for your views also.
PS. We are in Goa now!

#7 bague25

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 04:08 PM

Delhi Guy

You and your wife will see that as you have more experience you will gain confidence and go instinctively towards the goods wines - it's inevitable ;) .
"Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are" - Jean Anthelme BRILLAT-SAVARIN

#8 bague25

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 04:23 PM

“I agree but isnt this just a simple matter of 'conditioning'. Example: one may grow up in a Gujarati household and like sweetened food, a deviation which may be anatheme to others. If so doesnt it mean that given time and exposure to more wines we may attune/evolve our senses to Indian food and wine pairing. What do you think?”

That is exactly the point. When we are more exposed, we will refine our tastes. Just taste in the first place – getting familiar with different aspects of wine. At the next stage our instinct will help us dig out of memory which wines go well with which flavour. This is something that takes time, and should not be hurried


”Of course there remains this matter of complex spicing for which future trends of Indian cuisine may have to adjust to wines which IMO should be simple spicing, one at a time. Your opinion, please.”

I don’t know what to say… I love Indian food too much to attack its bases. Maybe highlighting one spice and mellowing other is a way out. But this is a solution I cannot always use - I’m known to use multiple spice masalas. But that being said when I adapt Indian ingredients, with western recipes (or vice-versa) pairing is easier since one technique or ingredient is adapted to another cuisine.


“I know what you mean, I was invited to a wine/Indian food tasting and everyone was in general upbeat assent about the free food and wine including some well known experts/columnists. I however chose to differ as some pairings were 'musty' almost leading me to think that the wine was corked. The wine was alright, it was the pairing at fault. Of course they will never invite me again. ;)

I am still hoping that if it is possible to do a bad pairing then the opposite may be also be true.”

True, true


Quote
If however, I was given a recipe then I could be more specific in my choice. I have notebook where I jot down my notes on wine pairing. This serves to keep the memories of these wines alive.

Give us a peek please, say, a mildly spiced leg of lamb.

Will do so as soon as possible (am still in France now)

Edited to add: sorry this is not very clear - but quotes to quotes is beyond me ???
"Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are" - Jean Anthelme BRILLAT-SAVARIN

#9 Tomato

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Posted 30 December 2004 - 01:51 PM

On the whole I'm quite irritated with wine "gurus" who tell you that this goes well with this. After all one man's meat is another mans poison! I think taste is something personal and it should be discovered - and the best way is by trial and error. Ofcourse wide guidelines can help but nothing precise (eg Chicken Tikka Masala should be served with a Chateau XXX millesium YYY)

I've read several articles where experts give you types of grape that go well with Indian food, and in most of such articles, they end up naming almost all grapes.

Sorry to be so negative but I'm venting...After years of tastings, trying, searching - you realize there's a lot of hot air. I want those starting to appreciate wine to begin with being as less influenced as possible by others...

I work in a Hotel and we have everyone from the Executive Chef downwards offering completely different opinions on wine pairing. I think I'll stick to your advice, easier and self satisfying.

What's your take on the old adage of Red wine with Red meat and White wine with White meat? I'm hoping you will trash it. :D
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#10 bague25

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Posted 08 January 2005 - 04:44 PM

What's your take on the old adage of Red wine with Red meat and White wine with White meat? I'm hoping you will trash it. :D



Tomato

I do not give a trashing to all adages (I do try though :D )

I prefer my fish with whites - when the fish has a white sauce or it is a delicate fish -  somehow it works better.

But I do have reds - light ones, with stronger sauces and flavoured fish.

There are some traditional combinations that I stick to because they just work so well. Monbazillac with foie gras is one example. I had foie gras for new year's eve with pineau de charantes and though it was good, Monbazillac is really better...
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#11 Dr. Ink

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 07:10 PM

This is an interesting topic and I'd also like to believe that lighter wines, red or white tend to go well with lighter dishes. With hearty meat dishes say like a beef stew or even a chicken cacciatore, I'd go for a big red only.
Are there any big whites?

#12 bague25

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 01:12 AM

This is an interesting topic and I'd also like to believe that lighter wines, red or white tend to go well with lighter dishes. With hearty meat dishes say like a beef stew or even a chicken cacciatore, I'd go for a big red only.
Are there any big whites?

Dr Ink

That's correct! A full bodied wine will kill the mild flavour of a delicate fish and vice versa.

What do you mean by "big"? I gather it's full-bodied or young? ???

I know it's diffucult to describe wines I often think of one adjective but name another...
"Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are" - Jean Anthelme BRILLAT-SAVARIN

#13 Dr. Ink

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 05:20 AM

Can a young mean a big? Sorry I meant a full bodied red wine that comes on strong and fills the mouth.Did I say fills the mouth? I meant that there are some cabernet sauvignons, riojas and syrahs that are 'invasive'.I dont even know what I am talking about, sorry if I have been vague, must be the three whiskies inside me.  ??? I can't think of any big whites, to me white is light.

#14 bague25

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Posted 13 January 2005 - 08:16 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think by Full mouth you mean high tanin content (you know that astringent feeling when you have a wine).

The white do not have this feeling and so are considered 'light' (except the next morning) :( . Whites are know to give headaches - this is not because of the wine but because of the sulphur used in the production/processing.

Reislings and Pinot blancs and be quite flavourful. More bouquet (aroma in wine terms).
"Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are" - Jean Anthelme BRILLAT-SAVARIN

#15 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 14 January 2005 - 08:57 PM

I am venturing a guess here. Doc and I are primarily whisky drinkers and I too find white wine too...bland/soft/mild? Innured by many years of drinking robust whiskies, my palate prefers red (more fortissimo?)to white wines. I wonder if there are more whisky drinkers here who have the same problem, anyone?

Am I right in presuming that white wines have added sulfite content because they lack tannin which would otherwise have served as a preservative?

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#16 bague25

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Posted 15 January 2005 - 07:59 PM

CEO

I suspected that :(

It's the lack of tannin and it's astringency that makes one feel that whites are not "strong" enough. That's understandable.

Your deduction about tannins & sulphides is correct. I read some where though that there is a new method that being used that does not use sulphur or it's compounds. I must investigate...

Bague
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#17 anil

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 06:38 PM

I wonder if there are more whisky drinkers here who have the same problem, anyone?

Nope. Though, I rarely follow up with a glass of white; having had two jamesons at the bar waiting for our table :)

#18 Dr. Ink

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 03:43 PM

It's the lack of tannin and it's astringency that makes one feel that whites are not "strong" enough. That's understandable.

Bague

That's probably what I feel and I've also noticed that Ladies are partial to the whites at least here in India.

#19 FaustianBargain

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Posted 19 March 2005 - 08:47 PM

re whites, my 2 c
a dry wine(think riesling/alsace) goes well with any 'sweet' spices. dry wines usually come from regions that are cooler and are higher in altitude. the sugars arent concentrated. lemony and punchy dont go well with rieslings. forget about matching them with spicy Indian food. these are difficult wines. i dont think the Indian palate can appreciate these dry whites.

when your spices are 'warm' and there is a lot of heat(typical Indian spicy food), a sweet white with lesser acid and slightly higher sugars than a dry wine will go well. when i say spicy, i dont mean..tears in the eyes spicy..you know what i mean..

new world wines..from s.africa, us and down under are more fruity and 'softer' given that these areas are much more sunnier. certain regions in france(rhone valley wines/languedoc etc) also has nice round, soft whites. california whites are especially soak in the sun and keep just the required amount of acidity. i think it goes well with a moderately spicy food.

and then there are the fruity wines. higher sugar content, sweeter and fruity. matches very well with spicy, strong foods. definitely new world wines. there are very few regions in france that cater to Indian tastes. if you are looking at whites, you are looking at wines from california, australia..even south african whites. the key is to avoid the whites fermented in oak barrells. it ups the acidity and bitterness in the pairing for some reason.

i have come across an Indian wine. sula, iirc..from somewhere near Bombay? i havent tasted it yet, but i am curious about this wine. apparently, India produces only whites. true?

#20 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 12:56 PM

Thanks for your insight on Indian foods and wine pairing.
Sula, Chateau Indage and Grover Vineyards make red wines too.
Some of the varietals grown in India are :
Chardonnay
Viognier
Sauvignon Blanc
Reisling
Pinot Noir
Muscat
Shiraz/Syrah
Chenin Blanc
Zinfandel

There may be more as the wine industry in India seems to be at a take off stage and is constantly changing as per the Consumer market dynamics.

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