Hot & Spicy Food With Wines

Dishes loaded up with chilli and spice (everything nice) usually get along with wine about as well as ferrets in a bag who've just watched 36 hours straight of Viet Cong Cu Chi tunnel footage, but if you apply a few general rules to pairing spicy food with wine, you can find some workable food and wine pairing options. Steer clear of overly woody wines at all costs, the chilli and spice will turn them into splinters in your mouth. Aromatic, unwooded whites like riesling and gewürztraminer are logical choices but if you really want red go for younger, fruit forward and lightly oaked shiraz or pinot noir. Cabernet, with its vigorous tannins, should be avoided like a drunk uncle.

Overall whenever you're matching any food with wines, think about the body or weight of the wine and compare that to how heavy you're dish will be.

Our Top 5 Spicy Dishes With Wine Matches

We like to put in the hard yards to make your life easier here at WineMarket, so we've found the spiciest food there is, dipped it in extra chilli, snorted some wasabi and then with faces redder than Hey Hey it's Saturday; found the perfect wine match from our stables.

5. Green Papaya Salad - Tam Som

This popular firecracker of a dish, in traditional Laotian style, balances sour, sweet, salty, bitter & melt your face off fresh Red Chilli. Being commonly referred to as the most bombed nation on earth, the friendly residents of Laos are used to living life on the edge so take caution when you answer the question "extra spicy?" after ordering this dish, whether you're admiring the view of the Mekong in Luang Prabang or the beer garden of your local RSL.

Drink With: A light-bodied, cool climate Riesling. The fresh citrus flavours will pair well with the lime juice in the dish and the steely minerality will add another dimension to the dish.

Try - Domain Day Mount Crawford Riesling 2013

4. Buffalo Wings - Hot Wings

There's no food that screams 'Merica more than a super sized bowl or bucket of Chicken Wings deep fried and then tossed in a hot sauce containing tear-inducing cayene pepper, artery-hardening butter and of course a secret blend of herbs and spices designed to reduce the hardest of Marines to blubbering babies.

Drink With:A Wine with nice acidity and stone fruit characters & a bit more body and viscosity like a good Pinot Gris. The refreshing fruit characters and acidity will compliment the chicken and cut through any fatty texture while still heavy enough for the average Yank.

Try - Brancott Estate Letter Series Pinot Gris 2011

3. Chili Con Carne

Nothing on this earth is guaranteed to clear the sinuses quicker than a fiery bowl of chilli. This tomato based meat & bean slow cooked behemoth has disputed origins, though none can argue that the ground chilli kick in this dish is so good it warms the soul and brings comfort on a cold winters day. Think sitting by a roaring open fireplace with a piping bowl of chilli, a dollop of sour cream & as you look out the window, your annoying neighbour has locked themselves out in the rain, it's that kind of good.

Drink with: Grenache and Tomatoes are a match made in heaven, or by Italians; and when you're talking food and wine matching that's comparible. Try your next chilli with a light to meduim bodied fruit forward Grenache.

Try - Monte Oton Garnacha 2012

2. Lamb Vindaloo

Forgetting momentarily that this dish originated in Portugal and the two main ingredients (wine or wine vinegar & garlic) are not spicy, we know with absolute certainty that when we sit down at the local Indian after a post work drink on a Friday, this dish will have three shiny red chilllis next to it on the menu. Not only that, someone on the table is going to order it, possibly out of spite; you're going to eat it and when you do, you'll sweat more than horse with hyperhydrosis during a Bikram Yoga session. Embrace the burn.

Drink With: Think refreshingly chilled Rosé. The light to medium body, slightly sweet fruit, low alcohol content and low tannin will complement this dish, balance out the spice and lift it to another dimension.

Domain Day One Serios Rosé 2013

1. Guatamalan Insanity Pepper

Ok, ok, while you may only be able to find reference to this in a (brilliant) cartoon, the insanity pepper represents the tipping point where the alcohol heat from any wine just won't work with a dish. Never fear though, for we at Winemarket are prepared to sacrifice all (actually just the intern's tastebuds), to see if eating enough chilli can make you hallucinate... Sadly, it doesn't but it does make for one hell of a laugh.

Drink With: Forget milk and it's supposed capsaicin neutralising benefits, grab the nearest frosty beer or chilled cider, spread the heat around you're tastebuds, blubber, cry, make strange faces and embrace the endorphin high that you're about to experience.

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