How to Pair Your Wine with Thai Food

Thai food perfectly balances many flavours. Sweet, sour, salty and spicy all work together in perfect harmony. While this creates delicious food, it can make it harder to find a wine that perfectly matches all of these different notes. Looking for wines that pair with such intricate food is difficult, balancing the bitter and the aromatic. Here are Ideal Wine Company’s top choices to serve with Thai food.

Ideal Wine Company wine and Thai food
Thai food perfectly balances many flavours, here are Ideal Wine Company’s top choices to serve with Thai food.

Pad Thai and Riesling – sweet and sour

Pad Thai’s sweet and sour noodles bring together a wide range of flavours harmoniously. To perfectly match this, an off-dry Riesling brings a welcome balance. With its dynamic tropical fruity flavours, there is a perfect amount of sweetness and acidity to cut through the spices of the dish.

Look for a Riesling that features jasmine in its bouquet. Picking up on the aromatic notes of the food, jasmine will add an interesting note.

Thai fresh rolls and Torrontés – fresh and lean

These delicious rolls are known for their fresh, crisp and crunchy vegetables rolled together. Due to the simplicity of this healthy snack, as well as the lack of fat, try pairing this dish with something a bit different. A Torrontés brings a sweet smell that works well with the freshness of the vegetables. However, the taste is drier than expected. The lean lightness of this wine brings out the flavour in this healthy choice.

Tom Yum soup and Grenache Blanc – complementing spiciness

A complex, spicy dish such as Tom Yum soup incorporates a lot of flavours and spices. With so much going on, finding a perfect match to incorporate and enhance these flavours presents a challenge. Try serving your soup with a Grenache Blanc. The similar flavour profiles of both dishes help to bring a consistency between wine and food that complements. Both contain flavours of lemongrass, kaffir limes and galangal. An unoaked version of the wine, slightly chilled, makes a perfect match for this delicious Thai dish.

Red/green curry and Gewürztraminer – focus on fragrance

These classic Thai dishes are among the most popular choices for Thai food. Through these two curries are different, they traditionally have the same base of coconut milk, with the colours of the chillies being the key separator. This changes the spice of the dishes, while the general fragrance remains the same across the two dishes. A top tip for matching Thai food and wine is to focus on the fragrance. A Gewürztraminer is perfect for fragrant food. This aromatic grape has an inherently sweet flavour and lower acidity, the lightness of this wine is sure to handle the spices of your curry.

Thai spring rolls and sparkling Rosé – balance your bitterness with sweet

Spring rolls make a great starter for a Thai feast. These light and crispy rolls contain a delicious bitter vegetable filling and can be served with a slightly salty sauce. To brighten up and bring balance to this dish, try opting for a sparkling Rosé wine. This will impart a good amount of fruity sweetness onto your palate, which can cleanse your palate between bites. The bubbles create a refreshing and delicate sip that uplift your spring rolls to new levels.

With Thai food, the fragrance is key. This aromatic mix can help you decide what wine works well, so focus on this. As a careful blend of these flavours that emphasizes the balance of ingredients, look for a wine that harmoniously works with the whole dish rather than single flavours.

How to Serve Bold Reds with Vegan and Vegetarian Food

With January assigned as the month for resolutions and change, many of us are trying to go without meat this month. But as the ‘Veganuary’ campaign encourages more of us to try a vegan diet, we’re met with the assumption that wine pairing with vegan or vegetarian food is limited. Ideal Wine Company is here to dispel this myth. This week, we’re bringing you top tips and ideas for pairing vegan and vegetarian food with bold reds.

Ideal Wine Company wine and vegan and vegetarian food
Here’s our guide to serving bold reds with vegan and vegetarian food.

Think of wine as an ingredient

Trying to incorporate wine into your dish can be difficult. While we’re met with an extensive list of wines that pair with meat, removing this element makes the process a little bit harder. Breaking down wine into its structural taste components, such as sweet, bitter sour, will help you to understand what the wine is bringing to your meal. Treating it as an ingredient will ensure that you approach wine as something actively involved with your food. As the goal of pairing wine and food is to balance out key flavours, knowing what your wine is adding to the mix is key.

Know the taste profiles of a bold red wine

Bold red wines bring a great deal of power and flavour to food. To pair a bold red with vegetarian or vegan food, it is important to understand the fundamental taste components of the wine.

  • Bitterness: You can discover how bitter your wine is by looking at the pigment and tannin. High quantities of these two elements add bitterness and astringency to wine, which has a palate cleansing effect. The features of bitterness need to be offset with your food. Try pairing caramelized roast vegetables with a wine with a slight bitterness to balance the dish.
  • Acid: Full-bodied reds are typically acid, so often contain a fundamental sourness. Take advantage of this by letting your wine act as a balancing force. With acidic wines, baked grains, fruit and roasted vegetables are key ingredients that offset sourness.
  • Intensity level: There’s no doubt that a full-bodied red is a bold choice. To compete with your wine choice, your meal will need to have a similar level of intensity.

Ideas for pairing:

Malbec – robust tannins perfect for bold flavours

Bringing fruity notes, a medium to full-bodied is known for flavours of blackberry, cherry and plum. These rich and dark notes are often complemented by notes of leather and a sweet tobacco finish. With these strong flavours, a Malbec will stand up well against spices. Opt for pairing your Malbec with Cajun flavours, baked potatoes or black pepper.

Try serving Malbec with a cauliflower steak. Simply a large cut of cauliflower that is roasted, it can be treated similarly to a steak and paired with seasoning and sauces of your choice. A Malbec will easily handle any spices and provide a welcome pep to your dish.

Pinot Noir – fragrant and herbal

This silky red is known for intense flavours of ripe cherries, summer berries and wild strawberries. This lush tasting wine works well with mushrooms, legumes and fruit-based sauces. Suited to light food, a Pinot Noir is ideal for Mediterranean and Asian dishes.

This means a Pinot Noir will pair perfectly with a green lentil curry. The fragrant and herbal notes of the wine will complement the spices on offer in the hearty Indian dish.

Beaujolais cru – juicy and acidic

Made with Gamay Noir Grapes, this French wine has primary flavours of raspberry, tart cherries and cranberries. With notes of mushroom, smoke and violet, this wine provides a good balance of earthiness to your dish.

Try pairing your dish with ratatouille. The collection of vegetables in the dish, from tomatoes to aubergine, are matched perfectly by the smokiness and slight fruitiness of a Beaujolais cru. This allows the variety of vegetables to interplay perfectly, while the wine still provides balance.

Just because your diet is meat-free, it doesn’t mean you must give up red wine. These dishes can definitely stand up to a bold red, so don’t be afraid to be bold with your flavours too. It’s also important to remember to also look that the wine itself is vegan or vegetarian. With all this in place, your vegan or vegetarian diet can be complemented by the perfect red.

Matching Your Christmas Starter to Your Wine

Christmas dinner is undoubtedly one of the most important meals of the year. While you may have decided what wine to serve alongside your classic turkey dinner, starters offer more variety and therefore more trouble. With so many options to choose from, it can be a bit daunting to find a wine to match. At Ideal Wine Company, we’ve compiled a list of perfect starter and wine combinations that’ll earn their place at the Christmas table.

Ideal Wine Company Christmas starters and wine
Here’s how to match your Christmas starter to your wine.

Smoked salmon and Riesling

A classic choice for a Christmas starter, this option pairs well with a light crisp white wine. Try pairing with a dry Riesling. Its vivid green apple flavour works especially well with the fish. The sweetness of a Riesling highlights the smoky taste. Acting as a palate cleanser between bites, the natural acidity of the wine counterbalances the fat content of the fish. A good tip to remember when buying a Riesling for smoked salmon is to avoid sweeter or medium dry varieties. The smoky flavour can overwhelm these options, while a dry Riesling softens and rounds these flavours perfectly.

Roasted pumpkin soup and Chardonnay

A hearty soup is a real crowd-pleasing favourite. Taking the flavours of the season, this creamy starter offers strong and rich flavours. With pumpkin soup, try offsetting this velvety starter with an oak-aged Chardonnay. A medium-bodied option should provide a bright acidity to contrast the soup. The layered light fruit and toast character of the wine provides a refreshing note. This stops the creaminess of the soup from becoming overwhelming, without overpowering it. A perfect pairing for a festive feast.

Grand Marnier paté and rosé

Featuring pork, duck and chicken liver and finished with an orange liqueur and orange slices, this paté packs a lot of flavour. With so much going on, it can be difficult to pair this wine with one specific wine. For this reason, we suggest going with an option that combines elements to fit the variety of flavours. We recommend trying this paté with a rosé wine. Look for a medium bodied variety that has the refreshing texture of a white wine, while also bringing a somewhat deep flavour that is more typically found in a red. This hybrid wine perfectly matches the rustic and hearty offering of paté.

Beef carpaccio and champagne

At Christmas, don’t be afraid to try something a bit different for your starter. A fresh tasting salad made from beef carpaccio is a perfect solution if you’re looking to make a change. With its slightly salty taste and leafy greens, this is a light option. For this reason, it’s best not to choose too strong a wine. Try a Champagne or similar sparkling wine, as these pair surprisingly well with raw beef. Its natural sweetness perfectly brings the entire dish together. What is Christmas without a glass of Champagne?

There are plenty of starters you can bring to your table this Christmas, with an endless variety of wines to pair them with. We recommend choosing lighter options for the first course, to bring a subtlety to a traditional rich meal.

The Perfect Wines to Pair with Your Seafood

Many wine lovers enjoy a glass of wine with their fish dish. The common pairing of white wine and fish is thought to bring balance and supply a palate cleanser between each delicate bite. While many of us think we should avoid red wines and stick to a light and acidic wine with fish. Ideal Wine Company is here to make pairing wine with your fish simple.

Ideal Wine Company seafood and wine
What are the perfect wines to pair with your seafood?

A guide to fish pairing

Fin fish can be categorised into four major groups, by texture and flavour. While there is a general rule that white wine pairs well with most fish, certain white wines work better for each category.

  1. A lean and flaky fish – usually defined by its mild flavour and thin white fillets. Seabass and haddock are key examples of this type of fish. To pair with this, a zesty and refreshing white wine is best to balance the delicate fish flavour. Try Chardonnay or Vermentino as a standard for this variety.
  2. A medium textured fish – firmer and thicker but still flaky, such as trout and red snapper. For this group, try a medium-bodied white with high aromatics. Good examples of this include a Semillon or a dry Riesling.
  3. Meaty fish – firm and with a steak-like texture. This category of fish includes salmon and swordfish and pairs best with a rich white with lots of flavour. Red and rose wines also provide a nice alternative. A white Pinot Noir or an oaked Chardonnay is a good starting point for meaty fishes.
  4. Strong flavoured fish – characterized by their salty taste, these fish are unmistakable. Including anchovies, sardines and mackerel, this strong fish pairs with strong, yet complimentary, wines. Try a Pinot Noir, to match the bold flavours, or Champagne, to bring a fresh note that will cleanse the palate.

Dishes to try

  • Salmon and Pinot Noir:

This meaty fish is adaptable, suiting white, red and rose varieties. Try a Pinot Noir, as the smoothness of the wine perfectly match the earthy flavours of the fish. We recommend that you look for a variety of Pinot Noir that has low tannins as this will compliment but not overpower the salmon.

  • Halibut and Gewürztraminer:

Halibut is mild flavoured with a firm but flaky texture, allowing it to be one of the most versatile and popular fishes available. This allows it to pair well with a wide range of ingredients and wines. Gewürztraminer is slightly sweet and aromatic, bringing fresh notes to the fish. As well as this, the wine acts as a palate cleanser to bring a lightness to any halibut based dishes.

  • Lobster and Chardonnay:

Undoubtedly, lobster is a luxury that must be the star of the dish. When you serve a fresh from the sea lobster, we advise pairing with a less bold wine, as it will be in a supporting role. There may be no better choice than a Chardonnay, as it is light and well-balanced. Look for light and crisp options, as these won’t muddle the flavour of the rich grilled lobster.

  • Scallops and Sancerre:

Scallops defining feature are their sweetness and buttery texture. With this in mind, try pairing them with a medium to full-bodied white, such as a Sancerre. Characteristically citrusy and acidic, the roundness of this wine pairs well with the simplicity of the scallops.