Wine & Food

Snooth User: amour

Indian food and what wines??????

Posted by amour, Feb 19, 2017.

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Reply by amour, Feb 19, 2017.

Many of us adore glorious Indian Dishes.

I love a Samosa that is made with a subtle touch of cumin, vegetables, petit pois, tasty diced potatoes, mustard seed and so on.....what will be a good wine to accompany such a great vegetable samosa and various Indian meat dishes?

Reply by ApelsecS, Feb 19, 2017.

well, I have indian food somitimes, thanks to my Indian friends, but I'm abit confused about what wine fits it...

there are several issues with Indian food : first - usually you it with you fingers and a wine glass in same buttery hands looks not that aesthetically nice)) second - it's usually spicy food, that I would pretend kills wine flavour.

I beleive white wine should be the choice for most cases, like let's say Riesling with dosa or maybe Pinot Grigio with samosa...

don't have ideas for west-indian meats.... should be some italian reds to compensate wide aroma of spices)) maybe even Australian, cause you will miss most of the aroma and it's cheaper.

Reply by amour, Feb 19, 2017.

I did not think PINOT GRIGIO with the Samosa....good idea, APELSECS!


Reply by duncan 906, Feb 19, 2017.

I have had  sweet or off-dry chenin blanc from the Loire valley with spicy Indian foods. It is a combination that works well

Reply by amour, Feb 19, 2017.

I guess ALSACE STYLE PINOT GRIGIO will be ideal!


Reply by amour, Feb 19, 2017.

Hello dear DUNCAN 9 0 6!



Reply by Stephen Harvey, Feb 19, 2017.

I think a very good Clare Valley Riesling

Needs to young to allow the acid to balance the Chilli

If they are mildish dishes then I quite like the Grenache Blends but need to be reasonably young to not be overawed by the the spices

Reply by GregT, Feb 20, 2017.

It depends of course, but i the food is spicy I'd go with something slightly sweet. If it's not spicy, then maybe something dry. But if they have a raita and those types of things, I'd probably stick with whites.

But then I just like reds so what the hell.

I once was going to sell wine in India. We organized a few dinners with people who would have represented our customer base. I have no idea if this is true or not, but they drank the wine, had dinner, and settled back with liquor afterwards. They told me that was the custom. Again, I don't know if that's the case or not, but I found it fascinating. We in the US, perhaps because we're a relatively young wine-drinking nation, worry excessively about pairing. In other places they don't worry so much, they just drink what they have. And no, there is no where in the world where people spent centuries developing wine to match with the local cuisine.

But India is an even newer wine drinking country. And if my focus groups were representative, they have a completely different, but not incorrect, approach to wine. They drink it first, eat, and move on to harder stuff.

I should probably spend some time there to find out if I just have a dumb American's misunderstanding of things, but I thought it was pretty cool to find an entirely valid but different approach. It kind of reminded me of the fern bars in the 1970s, which after all, were probably responsible for the popularity of Chardonnay in the US.

Reply by JonDerry, Feb 20, 2017.

Well I'm about to fly in to India, so I can ask around...getting on a plane in a few hours for an Indian wedding.

Reply by dmcker, Feb 20, 2017.

Yeah, that is the custom in India, Greg. Originally was beer followed by whisky (because of the long Raj history). Now hybrid patterns are emerging. Most drinkers generally still don't take wine all that seriously (similar cases in China, also were in Japan 30+ years ago) so they aren't up to or focused on the matching as much. It's just a fashion so get it out of the way and back to the serious drinking (unless someone's making a culturally political statement and then they stubbornly stay with the wine). And since they aren't usually drinking good wines and they clash with the foods it's motivation to get back to the beer, and whisky & water, which are a better match (unless someone has the kind of palate that is happy with Coca Cola with everything). We're skipping past mixed drinks here, too, which can sometimes be lumped in the same category as wine in popular use.

Doesn't mean we shouldn't try to match. The drinkers (and marketplace) in India are in a certain evolutionary stage. They're looking for guidance from people with more wine history and knowhow, even if the proposed suggestions might need some localization.

Or were fern bars made popular because of all the chard-sipping singles hanging out in them?

You're also starting to lose me when you say there's nowhere in the world where cuisine and wine didn't evolve together over centuries to match and support each other.

Reply by amour, Feb 20, 2017.

GREGT...that is a story indeed... WE LOVE STORIES!


It is us, sophisticated wine drinkers who are working hard to develop pairings!!!!!

As DMCKER says, it does not mean that we should not try to match.

Reply by GregT, Feb 21, 2017.

Agreed Amour. There's no harm to it and often a nice upside.

D - I didn't say they didn't evolve together, just that they were never developed together intentionally. Think about it. Most wine we know today is maybe a hundred or a hundred and fifty years old. In the late 1800s, Barolo was sweet, Bordeaux was putting out clear wines from Malbec and other grapes that they mixed with Syrah, which they called Hermitage, Rioja was getting hit by the phylloxera that had hit the other countries, Chianti was not much lauded and Brunello didn't get beyond the confines of the producer's vineyard, and the world's most prized wines were the sweet ones from Germany, Hungary, and Spain.

Italy was a third world country until well after WW2. Spain too. Those people weren't sitting around pondering what they're going to get for their next tattoo or how to pair a certain preparation of the local specialty so that it married properly with the bacteria filled, VA reeking, brett-infested wine they were producing as an alternative to their filthy and deadly water. They didn't have such a thing as "natural" wine then, they just had wine. And they were mostly hoping they didn't starve, not trying to create dishes that would get them on a cable TV show. So they cooked whatever they could grow, find or catch and they tried to stretch it as far as they could to cover the whole family. Cuisine was opportunistic, not designed, and wine pretty much the same.

Sure, there were courts where people attempted to refine the cuisine, but those were not focused on pairing food and wine so much as dazzling people with opulence.

Cabernet Sauvignon only appeared in what, the eighteenth century? The oldest grape known is Muscat d' Alexandria, which makes sense because it smells beautiful and given the probable aromas of ancient times, that's no small thing. Then there are some in the south of Italy, but those have partisans claiming they go back to Roman times. My hunch is that there are much older grapes from the Middle East and Greece.

But that's just my take!

Anyway, have a successful trip JD and report back to us!

Reply by dmcker, Feb 22, 2017.

Some notes I threw together quickly for JD on his trip. Might as well share them:


Rajistahn ideas:
  • Jodhpur—fort and old town (Brahmin blue), Mehrangahr—all in guidebooks; I always used to send home jodhpur riding pants from there to horsey friends of mine as tongue-in-cheek gifts; lots of shopping but 90% tourist junk these days from what I hear; hunt for quality whenever you’re looking for anything, and don’t accept dross; fatigue factor here comes from all the same-old same-old tourist experience feelings
  • Jaipur—besides the well-known touristy standards that can be prioritized, shopping should be jewels (gemstones cut or uncut) (both old-town bazaars, and more modern shops; if you can find the right connection good deals), rugs, other textiles, maaaaybe some art; all throughout Rajasthan lots of silver jewelry, some of it quite interesting
  • Sariska Tiger preserve; Ranthanbore Nat’l Park—wild tigers (more in the latter)—one of them worth a trip
  • Pushkar camel fair; Nagaur cattle fair’s probably over by now (just missed it); these are worth visiting when on but have to time them; imagine an exotic south-central Asian rodeo and state fair combined on a funky scale with lots of emphasis on partying....
  • Udaipur—kinda romantic (more so than Jodhpur or Jaipur, IMHO), good with a date
  • Jaisalmar--heavily commercialized but still worth a visit if have enough time
  • Bundi—poppies out now (Rajasthan always has had special rules about the plant, and even tourists can participate in certain ceremonies), the old Rajasthan, not commercially overrun, more of the Brahmin blue, good with Mom
  • If you’re going to do tours, and can afford it, private tours always better than groups, both in the city and out and about safari-style, but a lot of really touristy stuff out there so it’s important you know what you want and how you want to do it in a way that’s not too structured just for tourists and that opens you up to the new and something that’s more authentic than artificial
  • Cooking lessons always good
  • Drink a lot of chai, and lassi, too. Beer and even whisky before wine, if out on the streets (hotel bars and major restaurants different). Of course you can always BYO on picnics in appropriate locations. Still I wouldn't put finding the best local wineshop high up on the priority list for this trip.  ;-)
  • Watch your tummy; be smart, but not silly paranoid
  • Yoga??? Not an area for it, or for religious sadhus and yoghis, whether Hindu or Buddhist (not exactly Dharmsala or several other places I might mention), though I'm sure if you asked somebody will have packaged a tourist version for you.
  • Waaaaaaaay too touristified compared to when I first traveled there in the ‘70s (old hands were already complaining back then, but nothing like today)—heading out to the desert on camels was a different thing back then, as was chasing down any kind of rumor of something bizarrely or exotically interesting; now since the area is economically depressed they have to rely heavily on tourism, and theyve canned and freeze-dried all sorts of experiences that were once fresh but aint now.
  • Will try to remember some of the old Maharajah’s Palace-type hotels and restaurants; my dad once hit them all and sent me a detailed report of the martinis in each (this was back in the ‘70s when he was running Lockheed’s relationship with the Iranian Navy and always somehow managing to get to me multi-kilo tubs of great caviar), and was 12 single-spaced double-sided pages sent snailmail long before the Internet; I chased several of them down in my mountaineering and trekking, and midlife-crisis debauch-with-minxes, phases of my later life.
Delhi ideas
  • Keep it simple; a sprawling, dirty, noisy city of great economic and cultural contrasts; not as intense as, say, Calcutta or Mumbai in each of their different ways, but it can tire you out pretty quickly. Really hot in the summer, so now a better time for any exploring. Have been to all the places below over the past however many years.
  • There’s a park I like: nice refuge from the dirt and sweat and noise and craziness; let me dig up its name from old memory. Lodi/Lodhi Gardens. Sunday best for people watching but any day good for the refresh.
  • Any South and Southwest Asian religion you’re interested in has a major temple here if you want to see anything of that sort (even Sufi whirling dervishes!)
  • The Imperial Hotel and its bar? Nice place to wet whistle with feeling of the old Raj; start evening there and choose an interesting restaurant for after?; for something entirely different try the B-Bar (modeled after Buddha Bar in Paris) but great for people watching and energy. Also a good Scotch whisky bar that many friends have mentioned that's good for after dinner. Think it’s called Dramz, or something like that, and will give you another perspective on Indian whisky culture.
  • Street food’s as good here as most anywhere in India. It’s usually Northern Indian cuisine, but there are plenty of other variations.
  • Famous traditional restaurants for dinner: Moti Mahal for northern Indian (invented Butter Chicken) and Oh, Calcutta for Bengal (more fish); Dum Pukht for Lucknow style—really getting a lot of media attention now; the original Karim’s (not new branches) for upscale tandoori chicken, etc.; Bukhara also a media favorite, good kebabs cooked in a tandoori; Indian Accent for mastery of standards (even dhal); there are several others I’ve been to which you can also find from web searches, or contrarily will be hard to find (sometimes even hard for me to remember until I get boots on ground again),  but these are a solid start to choose from; if I were flying in now I’d go for street food or small boutique restaurants but you guys should try some of the standards to start with….
  • Shopping: Khan Market for cheap Indian tailor-made clothing, which can look good even if they don’t last as long as from Saville Row, etc.; Old Delhi’s narrow bazaars, Janpath (State Emporiums for goods from all over India). Again, try to chase down upper end carpets, ideally from Kashmir; good gemstones might be more complicated here than in Rajasthan, but it’s obviously a question of how quickly you can find a reliable broker.


Reply by amour, Feb 22, 2017.


Reply by dmcker, Feb 22, 2017.

Greg, I'll bet you that Odysseus was telling his guests, "Try this little Ithacan red with the kid we just butchered for you, which'll be roasted with our own olive oil and some thyme off the hillsides you can see. It's a perfect match!"  ;-)

Ditto for Katharine of Aragon and her husbands and the wines of the Loire back at the beginning of the last millenium. Or more recently, Thomas Jefferson and his Bordeaux stock paired with the bounty of the Virginia farmland in dishes that aped those he'd had with the same wines in France. So on and so forth. Wouldn't mind drilling down further on the topic with you, ideally with several Loire (or Greek or Spanish or...) whites and reds and some varieties of local cuisine....

Reply by dmcker, Feb 22, 2017.

OK, I was getting my ear bent by an Aussie tonight over a meeting at a pub accompanied by a couple of quick beers. He was going on and on about how good eating Crocs are. Since we have an active Aussie on these boards, here's my challenge for the night:

What are the best wine matches for

  • Croc tail meat?
  • Croc claws?
  • Croc tongues?

Blame it on the beers. Wonder if those saltwater Crocs confer with each other on what the best accompaniment for human meat is?  ;-(

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Feb 22, 2017.

Have eaten Croc

its kinda of cross between chicken and veal


Pinot goes pretty well

Last time I had Croc was in Darwin and had a riesling as it was an entre [stater in our lingo] and it worked well

Reply by dmcker, Feb 22, 2017.

How about the different cuts (as listed above)?  ;-)

Checked and I can even get all those cuts and more up here, though frozen of course.

Reply by amour, Feb 22, 2017.

In my London days around the Covent Garden area, there were a few PURELY AUSSIE spots and the one I often went to, served WONDERFUL croc.....



We had them with my pals for such spots were beer drinkers!


In Miami, I drink SAPORO and PERONI.....

There used to be KRONENBERG at BAYSIDE at a bar that served BEER FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.

OK ....enough...back to our WINE!

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Feb 22, 2017.

Only brave enough for tail meat

Nothing wrong with Beer talk, nothing like a cold beer to cleanse the palate before a wine

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