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Merlot wine for your Schezwan fried rice?

You might not have considered pairing your favourite street food with these classy wines, but there’s a first time for everything...

india Updated: Jul 05, 2011 15:43 IST
Rochelle Pinto
Rochelle Pinto
Hindustan Times

One of the city’s first casual wine bars recently opened their grandest offering yet in Khar(W). And the Ivy Grande menu features unusual suspects from Mumbai’s street food-loving palate like schezwan fried rice, keema pao and the city favourite — grilled sandwiches. We asked experts to help you navigate the fast food world with the right wine guide.

Pizza: According to Amogh Aundhekar, manager operation, Ivy Wine Café and Bistro, rosés work best with seafood and dishes with high cheese content like nachos and pizzas. “They are light and soothing on the palate, almost like water,” he says. Wine enthusiast Bhisham Mansukhani votes for Sauvignon Blanc, saying, “Its citrusy flavours would complement the sweetness of the tomatoes in the pizza and it’s also widely available. If you were going the Italian way, then a Pinot Grigio, which is available in India for about R 1200 would be the best way to do it.”

Keema pao: Here, Mansukhani points out that the interesting combination of bread and meat would require a red wine, which is robust with a tannic finish. “Shiraz goes well with this,” he says, adding, “You might want to try the Australian style of wine which has power but is still very elegant. In fact, I think I might want to get one myself.” Aundhekar recommends finding any red wine that suits your taste, explaining, “Spicy food has a lot of acidity which red wine can control. So take your pick.”

Grilled sandwiches: Sommelier Magandeep Singh points out that the aloo-cheese toast option that the city dishes out on almost every corner is so bland that any wine could be paired with it to great effect. “You don’t have to worry about the taste being over-powered,” he says, adding, “A Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc would go well because there’s no hardcore flavour in the food itself.” Mansukhani adds, “You could look at trying a sparkling wine, which is crisp and refreshing and still kind of dry. Don’t get wines that are too sweet because you don’t want them dominating the flavours of the sandwich. Most Indian wine brands stock sparkling and still rosés which would work with the medley of aloo, cheese and chutney.”

Schezwan rice: Magandeep insists that spicy food damages the delicacy of wine, saying, “If you don’t have a very high threshold for spicy food, then the alcohol in the wine would only aggravate the burning sensation and you would find it disgusting.” But Mansukhani makes a case for the Chenin Blanc, saying, “With a dish that spicy, a wine that has a slight sweetness at the end would help calm the palate. If you want a foreign varietal, a German Reisling, which is low in alcohol content will help balance the flavour of the food and the weight.” Aundhekar says simply, “A Merlot or Shiraz will help cut the acidity of the rice.”

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