Thursday, February 02, 2012

Aromatic Food Calls for Aromatic Wine

If you are fond of aromatic food--including Thai, Moroccan, or Indian dishes--you might find them difficult to pair with wine. All those spices can overwhelm an ordinary white or red, and very tannic or very acidic wines can clash with what's on your plate. Often, I recommend Gewurztraminer or Riesling when there are lots of spices in a recipe (and I mean spicy, not necessarily hot).

There is another good option, however: Viognier. The grape is well-known among Rhone wine lovers, but may not be something you've tasted. Intensely aromatic wines made with Viognier can be wonderful with their floral scents and full-bodied texture, but there are many examples (especially inexpensive bottles) that taste a bit too much like dish detergent and feel waxy in the mouth.

So I'm really pleased to have discovered this excellent QPR option for those of you who would like to try something different in the white wine department. Try it with something like this one-pot chicken and chickpea tagine with bulgur (also from Mark Bittman...I'm on a Bittman kick these days).

2010 Wild Horse Viognier (suggested retail $17; average online price also $17) This wine is an excellent example of what Viognier can be, with lemon pith and honeysuckle aromas and flavors. Its stony core keeps it from getting sweet and sappy, and there is a liveliness in the mouth. Expect a nice interplay between the fruit and flower elements. This bottle would pair well with spicy chicken dishes, anything that uses lemons, Moroccan food, and Indian food.

Full Disclosure: I received a sample of this wine for possible review.


Bill Rosich said...

Good call. I love Viognier and Rhone-style white blends for aromatic/spicy ethnic foods like the ones you listed.

Ashleigh and Tiffani said...

What a service you are providing to the public. Definitely adding you to our blog roll! Cheers, Ashleigh & TIffani, The Drinking Girls

Dishing Gourmet said...

I went to a tasting in Philadelphia with the winemaker. It was great. Wild Horse definitely makes some solid vino.

WineE Bitch said...

I LOVE Wild Horse Viognier. It's complex, well balanced and bright. Great evaluation! It was on sale at Whole Foods Market recently.

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