It’s Friday night (or Wednesday….or Thursday, or even Monday for that matter) and you really don’t have the energy to cook dinner. Eating in at the local takeaway, or bringing it home to enjoy on the couch, sounds like a great idea. But after the week you’ve had, you really need a drink. What should you sip with your Thai or Indian, pizza or Chinese? Let’s take a look at the best wine matches for our favourite takeaway meals.
Wine for Fish and Chips
Battered fish and chips can be greasy, but that’s the whole reason why we love them! To cut through that oiliness, you need a wine with lots of acidity and citrus flavours. Just like the vinegar or lemon you might squeeze over the fish.
My pick of choice would always be a sparkling wine. The bubbles actually carry more of the aromatic compounds, so you’ll get a higher concentration of flavour than with any other wine.
Bubbles, acidity and a little touch of special always make a simple take away meal fantastic. Sit on the beach or at a park with your loved one and enjoy!
If you aren’t as obsessed with bubbles as I am, then a nice crisp Riesling or a zesty Sauvignon Blanc would be lovely. The minerality of the riesling and the herbaceous flavours in the sauv blanc help to neutralize those oils and refresh your palate, ready for the next bite!
Wine for Thai Food
Asian food can be hard to match with wine, as there is often so much going on. Ginger and garlic here, lemongrass there and a bit of chili on the side!
Because the flavours of Thai food can be really complex, a nice dry white with some aromatics is often the best choice. Riesling, Pinot Gris, a fruity Gewürztraminer or a Sauvignon Blanc can be great. Look for Riesling from the Clare Valley, Gewürztraminer Tasmania or an Adelaide Hills Savvy B.
If you really must have a red (and I know there are those of you out there who couldn’t possibly drink white!), then a plummy Pinot Noir or lighter style Grenache would be good too. Another more unusual grape variety that would work well is Gamay, commonly used in Beaujolais, which is best drunk young when it tastes of cherries and ripe fruit.
If you can’t quite decide on a red or white, then maybe a rose is the answer! Choose one with a little bit of sweetness, but still with enough acidity and body to balance the food. Some of my favourites come from the Yarra Valley and Adelaide Hills.
Obviously it depends a bit on what you’re eating too. A spicy green chicken curry isn’t really going to go with a red, but then a red duck curry probably would, providing the level of chilli isn’t going to overwhelm the fruit.
Wine for Chinese Food
Chinese can again be difficult to match with wine. If crispy Peking duck pancakes are your thing, then a pinot noir will be the perfect match. The gamey flavour of the duck wonderfully balances the plummy and funky characters in the wine.
If you prefer crispy, deep fried prawn toast, a refreshing riesling or sparkling wine is probably the better choice. Prawns have a beautiful sweetness so you want to have some floral and aromatic characters to complement this. Being deep fried, you still want a certain degree of acidity to counteract the oiliness.
Beef in black bean sauce would match with a young, lighter style red. Either a merlot or GSM blend have enough fruitiness to balance a strong flavoured sauce.
Chicken with cashews needs a nice aromatic white, for example a riesling or pinot gris or pinot grigio.
What if we order the banquet, I hear you say? Depending on the number of diners and how much you like to drink, have a bottle each of red and white and see for yourself what works!
Wine for Greek Food / Kebabs
When you don’t want to cook, but need something quick and tasty, what could be better than charcoal grilled meats and garlic sauce, all wrapped up in toasty bread? Comfort food at its best! But comfort food, needs comfort wine, doesn’t it?
Whether you go for the chicken or the lamb, or even the vegetarian falafel, the smoky meat and garlic sauce need a nice big wine. The key to matching a wine with sauces using raw garlic is to include some acidity in the mix. You could try a buttery but fresh chardonnay or marsanne with the chicken or a tannic, but still fruity, cabernet with the lamb.
If salty, fried haloumi was on the menu, then a nice acidic white would perfectly complement that cheesy goodness. An Australian, rather than New Zealand, sauvignon blanc or a Margaret River semillon sauvignon blanc blend would have enough acidity and fruitiness to be a great match.
Wine for Indian Food
Indian food is full of strong and bold flavours, which don’t necessarily need to be hot. Many of the curries include a tomato base and coconut or coconut milk, which give a creamy richness and mouthfeel. Often souring agents, like tamarind or sweeteners, like slow cooked onion, are used to bring out the flavours in the sauce. To complement the creaminess of a curry, a chardonnay, marsanne or viognier would be perfect. Even if there is a little acidity in the dish, these bigger whites should be able to complement them. Newer styles of chardonnay, particularly from cooler climates, are less oaky and much fresher. This type of wine would be great.
A beef vindaloo, full of chili and spice, is probably going to be best with a beer or even a crisp acidic white, like a Margaret River semillon sauvignon blanc. This is one situation where a red wine probably won’t work. You’re likely to need something refreshing to give your mouth a break!
Other lamb or beef dishes that aren’t so hot, like a lamb rogan josh, would match nicely with a medium bodied red wine. A merlot, perhaps, or even a grenache, shiraz, mouvedre blend.
Chicken dishes, like a chicken korma, which have a creamy richness from the nuts in the sauce, would be better with an unoaked chardonnay. You want a wine that still has a nice body and complexity to it, but with enough acidity to cut through that creaminess.
Wine for Burgers
Burgers or sliders are the flavour of the month at the moment and can be so delicious. No longer just a fish and chip shop version, they come in all types imaginable! For a good old fashioned beef burger with cheese, tomato, lettuce and sauce, you can’t go past a nice easy drinking red wine. You want something young and fruity without a lot of tannin. A cabernet sauvignon or merlot from the last couple of vintages would be perfect.
You could drink that same young red with a chicken burger, because the cheese and sauce would complement the red berry and plummy flavours of the wine. If a white was more to your liking, then an easy drinking semillon or chardonnay would be great too.
Wine for Pizza
There are as many styles and types of pizza around as there are types of wine, so choosing the right one can be difficult. A local pizza shop super supreme with ham, salami, mushrooms and olives is going to match perfectly with a medium bodied, drink now red. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot blends all have enough oomph to go with the strong flavours on the pizza, without completely overpowering them. But perhaps the ultimate pizza wine is a light, racy Sangiovese. It’s what the Italians would have!
A good old ham and pineapple pizza would be better with a lighter style red, even a Grenache that has been chilled for half an hour or so. If you wanted a white, the sweetness of the pineapple would match with a Hunter Valley Semillon or lightly oaked Chardonnay.
If your pizza shop was a bit more gourmet and prosciutto with blue cheese and fresh figs was on offer, then a nice dry rose would be perfect. Sit back, relax and imagine you’re in Italy or Spain!
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