In an effort to warm up January, I’ve been heating up my food! Chili, spices and plenty of flavour are making me smile in this dark month. Anything to distract from the early sunsets and the wintery weather anyway. And although in the pursuit of healthiness, thoughtfully wholesome cooking is called for – The perfect wine match is never far from my mind.
On Friday, we caved and treated ourselves to a take away. A curry with plenty of heat (and a few more carbs than we usually allow ourselves of an evening) was order of the day. It was like old times when we were living in Kingston and we used to get a Friday night take away as regular as clockwork from Norbiton & Dragon! Eating this treat got me thinking; if there was a wine that transcended all the spicy food that we’re eating… Whether an Asian inspired take away, or healthy food pepped up with the help of the spice rack – what would it be?
If ever there’s an example of wine that I love with food but I don’t tend to drink without, it’s Riesling. There are many countries and regions that grow the grape and many styles to boot. As a rule, the spicier the food , the more sweetness you can take in your wine. Rieslings are on a sliding scale and can taste anything from sweet to dry. I tend to prefer drier New World versions and a great example is Tim Adams Clare Valley Riesling 2013. The winery is family owned and is in South Australia, just north of Adelaide.
Mr Adams, who started his wine career as a winery cellar hand in 1975 says that the wine will cellar for a decade or more. I’m not sure I could be bothered to wait that long when the wine tastes this vibrant and fresh. OK, it’s not as young as some Rieslings on the shelves but that bottle age gives the wine more texture than you get from newer examples.
I know Rieslings can be a bit Marmite but what I love (and some people hate) is that unique nose. There’s a citrusy engine oil like aroma that you get before you taste – a bit like opening up a garage that you’ve been storing ripe lemons in…. Not that I’ve ever done that of course. Alan wouldn’t think that the best use of our garage, and besides, I’d need to clear out the boxes of rubbish I’m storing in there at the moment. Anyway, I digress. That petrol like character continues on the pallet. Whilst there are lashings of lime and lemon to taste, there’s a deeper flavour that’s fragrant in a slightly savoury way. You might think this sounds a bit bonkers but see if you agree. When you sip with spicy food, all that citrus shines and the oily intensity and balanced acidity comes into it’s own.
So whether you’re being healthy and adding spice to your cooking, or going for that cheeky take away, Riesling could be your go-to bottle.
Tim Adams Clare Valley Riesling 2013 is available in Tesco at £9.75.