While it may be tempting to reach for beer or tea when you're cooking up some Thai treats, resist the urge: wine can actually be a great pairing partner for many Thai dishes. With its signature balance of spicy/salty/sour/sweet, Thai food is best when paired with wines that have similar equilibrium. Avoid any wines that are too alcoholic or too tannic, as they don't play well with spicy flavors. Bubbles, aromatic whites, a touch of sweetness, and robust roses are all your friends when it comes to Thai food. Below are some favorite bottles and suggested pairings from our expert wine blogger at SpinTheBottleNY. Enjoy.
Gruet Non Vintage, New Mexico ($15) Sparkling wine is great with anything fatty, spicy, salty or fishy—the acidity and bubbles really cut through the richness—so pair it fish cakes, curry puffs or anything fried, like Thai Gold bags. The gentle price is proof that sparkling wine doesn’t have to be pricey.
Dr. Loosen Urzinger Wurzgarten Riesling Spätlese 2006, Mosel, Germany ($20) German Rieslings like this one achieve a magical balance between sweet and sour that’s as refreshing as lemonade. Very, very good lemonade. It works particularly well with very spicy foods, like green curry with chicken, as the sweetness nicely tempers the heat.
Château Pradeaux Rosé 2009 Bandol, France ($29.99) Matching Thai meat dishes can be tricky. Whites are too light, while reds can be problematic: the tannin in red wines are often incompatible with very spicy or aromatic food. Split the difference with a hearty rosé like this one from Provence. Made from Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvèdre, it has a enough backbone to stand up to BBQ ribs or Thai grilled beef, but still provides plenty of refreshment.