Monday, June 2, 2014

Wine With Caribbean Food

Friday nights are our casual nights: dinner ordered in, a fun movie, and a bottle of wine.  In our neighborhood, the trick is finding a wine to go with Caribbean food. We always get a great meal, but the Caribbean lacks the wine culture to match. With hearty meat or seafood dishes with a heavy influence of Indian spices, this unique food is hard to match to wine.

We do eat a lot of Indian food on our Friday nights at home, and we feel like we have found good pairings to match. Most of those dishes seem to rely on their spices, rather than the protein, for flavor (whether fish, goat, or chick peas). We usually pick a rich white wine to counteract the heat between bites. In contrast, the Caribbean food we have tried seems to use a lot of those same spices, but with a heavier hand on the meat: resulting in a much more earthier palate while retaining the spice. A white wine can get lost when matched with goat or ox-tails, so we have been seeking a red wine that can match the full flavors yet deal with the spice.

Pinot Noir seems to be pretty versatile among red wines. It's lighter and fruitier than many other varietals and can still bring some other interesting flavors. Most red meats can benefit from a little bit of sweet fruit flavors, but many Pinot's have an earthiness that matches the iron rich protein. With curried goat, you are looking at a lot of savory, even gamey flavors that need that bit of earthiness from a red wine, so we pulled down a bottle of Outer Limits Pinot Noir. We've never had a Chilean Pinot Noir, but it did what we expected, bringing a balance of sweet flavors to the spicy and savory curry. With rich side dishes like creamed spinach and macaroni pie, the wine helped round out the greasy mouth-feel left from the fat in the food.

We like to use a nice bottle of wine to transform a casual night in on Friday into a special evening. Finding the right wine for take-out food isn't always intuitive, but it's fun to keep searching for the perfect match.

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