March 02, 2022 by Arden Montgomery
Best Wine for Spicy Food
Alcohol is not the most intuitive beverage of choice when it comes to picking the right pair for a super-spicy meal. Capsaicin, the chemical that makes hot peppers hot, has an inflammatory effect on our taste buds, which can make an otherwise soothing sip of wine feel like downing straight lava. Ironically, alcohol is the most efficient method of clearing a suffering tongue of a spicy coating, however a sugary soda will be a far more pleasant way to do so.
But we’re all adults here, right? Our palates can take a little punishment from time to time, especially if our beverage in hand is a magic match for the meal in front of us.
So let’s talk about how to find the right wines that go with some of the spicier dishes in the world.
What to look for in capsaicin-compatible wines
If you want to drink wine alongside your peppery app, but prefer to leave the experience with your tongue intact, the best way to do so is to pour yourself a glass of chilled, sweet, and low-alcohol white wine.
Less alcohol means less of a burn for those poor taste buds. More sugar means quicker relief from the capsaicin, and refrigeration offers an extra soothing touch to the sip. All of this combined allows you to better experience the flavors of your dish, as well as your wine, as neither will be doomed to obscurity thanks to the overwhelm of the guilty pepper.
If you prefer reds, look for similar qualities – sweeter profiles and lighter bodies will offer a similar benefit as their paler cousins. Whatever you do, avoid wines with heavy tannins, unless you enjoy a side helping of pain with your meal.
Best wine for spicy food
Here are some special bottles from the Argaux collection guaranteed to soothe after a bite of something spicy.
- 2020 Von Winning Paradiesgarten Riesling Trocken – $39
Germany may not be known for its super-spicy cuisine, but Stephan Attman, winemaker extraordinaire, sure knows how to cool it down.
A Riesling is the first bottle you should reach for after you’ve been a little too generous with the cayenne. And this is the first Riesling you should reach for. Quintessential aromas of green fruits, citrus, apricot, and white peach finish on a smooth and citrusy palate that’s perfect next to tacos, or your favorite maki roll smeared with plenty of wasabi paste.
- 2020 Hirsch ‘Hirschvergnugen’ Gruner Veltliner – $23
We’re on a very niche roll so far with another Germanic western European lime-and-green-apple driven wine. Except this one’s a white rosé!!
Springtime in a bottle, we urge you to take the time to savor every single drop that comes out of this exquisitely floral bottle. But rest assured, we understand if you need to swig a little after a mouthful of extra spicy vegetarian Thai green curry.
- 2020 Domaine Rougeot Bourgogne Passetoutgrain ‘Sans Sulfite’ – $38
Taking a break from our alpine wines, we head over to another region not exactly known for its chili-forward foods. Somehow, wines that go well with the creamy, fatty foods of French cuisine also manage to pair with hotter fare.
This beautiful Gamay/Pinot Noir blend soothes the palate with red fruits, stony minterality, and a grounding earthiness that will tie you to the planet even while you float above it after panting your way through a bite of Gan Guo Mushrooms.
- 2020 Weingut Griesbauerhof Alto Adige Pinot Grigio – $28
A zesty and complex Pinot Grigio that does its best to distance itself to the blase day-to-day of the rest of its kind. This palate has it all: stone, flowers, fruit, zest, cheese, even a few nuts here and there. It is rich, interesting, and utterly drinkable – especially when your face is on fire.
- Topa Topa ‘Dos Topas’ Lager 6-Pack – $12
Surprise – it’s beer! Really, really good beer. A beer that makes you believe the brewers at Topa Topa learned to coax the flavors of a lazy day at the beach into a barrel and were generous enough to share a can of this magical concoction with you.
The flavor profile of this lovely lager is professed as “cracker, maize, and crisp,” which we think just begs to be paired with street tacos topped with pickled haban֮ero peppers.
- NV Sorelle Bronca Extra Dry Prosecco – $22
For an extraordinary sensory experience, we urge you to follow up your spicy foods with a sip of this delectable ‘secco.
Sweet, fruity, refreshing, and with a saline finish, this Prosecco is an extraordinary pair with hard cheeses and cured meats. We’re thinking pepperoni pizza with a spicy red sauce.
Argaux can help
Maybe you’re the adrenaline junkie type who likes to take every sensory experience to the extreme. We’re seeing tears streaming down your cheeks as you gleefully take your second bite of chocolate bhutlah pepper. If this is the case, a sweet and soothing wine may not be for you. So why not check out the rest of our collection and see what wines will match your unique gastronomic needs?
Our pocket somm application connects you to our panel of expert sommeliers who are only too happy to help you find an Argaux wine that does what you need it to do – from food pairing to flavor profile.
Or, if you prefer to figure it out for yourself, pick up any of our wine tasting kits which will help you learn about the world of wines while you sip – alone, or with friends.