Imagine eating green papaya salad with chilis, green curry with eggplant, a pad Thai with shrimp, and a spicy duck larb. Is there a white wine that tastes good with those spicy dishes?
Fortunately, YES. White wines with low acidity can cut the flame. White wines with a bit of sweetness work well with Spicy Thai foods. When eating something spicy with residual sugar, the fruit comes forward while the sugar goes to the background.
Whether I cook myself Spicy Thai food or order them in a restaurant, I always pair them with sweet white wines. I prefer getting Chardonnay, Harslevelu, Furmint, Port, Malvasia, Chablis, etc.
What Does Residual Sugar Mean?
Residual sugar refers to the natural sugar left after the fermentation process. The residual sugar amount determines how sweet or dry white wine is.
White wines with little to no sugar are categorized as dry white wines, while those with ample amounts of residual sugar are sweet white wine counterparts.
Dry wines often contain 1 gram of sugar per glass, while sweet wines can have up to 20 grams of sugar per glass. Your palate starts to notice sweetness at around 2 grams of sugar per glass.
What are the Best White Wines to Pair with Spicy Thai Food?
Thai food is a perfect blend of 5 different flavors: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and spicy. If you prefer a Thai dish that highlights the spicy flavor, prepare your tongue for a painfully delicious food experience.
While you can eat Spicy Thai dishes themselves, pairing them with white wines helps your food experience improve. You can go for sweet white wines to reduce the spiciness and leave more savory flavors in your mouth.
When eating spicy Thai food, one of my concerns is what white wine I should pair with it. I discovered it best to choose sweet white wines when eating Spicy Thai food. So, here are my top recommendations you should try the next time you order your favorite spicy Thai food:
Chardonnay originates in Burgundy, Eastern France. This grape variety is harvested late for extra sweetness. This grape type also varies in flavor depending on the region it grows.
For example, Chardonnay grapes that grow in cool climates often deliver high acidity and crispiness. On the other hand, temperature climate Chardonnay wines are known for their sweet honey undertones alongside tropical fruitiness.
If it is our first-time trying this white wine type, it is under the name of its regions, like Chablis or Burgundy. The sweetest Chardonnay white wine has Blanc de Blancs, which I prefer when eating spicy Thai food. It minimizes the sting on the tongue without washing off other flavors.
Furmint is one of the favorite white wines I pair with spicy Thai dishes. It is also one of the sweetest options you can find on the market.
The grapes used to create sweet dessert wines are found in regions like Hungary. These grapes are widely used to produce Tokaji wines. I once tried the wines with a spicy dish; I enjoyed the sweetness and its ability to reduce the heat.
So, I also tried it with Red Curry with Beef. I appreciate the sweet flavor introduced on my tongue after chewing spicy meat. Furmint wines have an attractive look; I can easily identify them by looking at their wheat-gold color.
When searching for a white wine for spicy Thai food with a semi-sweet profile, you cannot go wrong with Harslevelu wine.
Although this wine is not as sweet as other white wines on the list, like Furmint, it works well with spicy dishes. The grapes are also mixed with Furmint to produce Tokaj Aszu, a unique dessert wine.
Traditionally, Viognier grapes are used to produce dry white wines. However, when these grapes are harvested late, they make some of the sweetest white wines.
Because of their low acid levels, I choose Viognier wines to accompany my spicy Thai food adventure. Plus, they offer floral aromas. Since they age rarely, I suggest consuming them young.
Typically, I partner these sweet white wines with Roasted Beef Spicy Salad, Spicy Cold Glass Noodle Salad with Seafood, or Thai Shrimp Cake with Sweet Chili Sauce. And they are like soulmates!
Also known as Raisin wine or Straw wine, Passito wines can be sweet or very sweet. The grapes used to make these wines usually grow in Cyprus, Greece, and Italy. They are typically compared to Sauternes dating back to Roman times.
Typically, grapes are left to dry out, which helps to concentrate the sugar. Today, this technique is still used in Cyprus, Greece, and Italy (Veneto, Piedmont, and Tuscany). If the wines above are not available, I opt for these wines, and they also work great with different spicy Thai foods.
Ice wine, also known as Eiswein, is made from frozen grapes that grow in the United States, Canada, and Germany. When these grapes are frozen, they are still on the vines.
The only thing that freezes is the water in them. As with sugars, they become more concentrated. The grapes are not impacted by noble rot, unlike other sweet white wines.
When I tried Ice wine with spicy Thai food, the wine flavors stood up to the dish’ distinct spices and bold flavors. The wine carries a distinct flavor and sweetness that prevent the risks of unsavory flavor on the palate.
Moscato wines, also known as Muscat, are among the popular sweet white wines in California, South Africa, Spain, Italy, and Alsace. Upon opening a bottle of this wine, you will quickly encounter the aromas of melon rind, stone fruit, and wildflowers.
After your first sip, your palate is met with dandelion, honeydew, sweet citrus, melon, and peach. This sweet white wine is suitable for drinking outdoors while enjoying pleasant weather and a spicy Thai dish.
I usually pair Moscato wines with fresh fruits, salads, and Asian foods, particularly spicy Thai dishes. I also pair it with spicy burgers.
- Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc wines are more popular in countries like France and the US. They have flavors of herbs, grass, and apples. These sweet white wines are made from grapes that grow in regions like Romania, Ukraine, Bordeaux, Loire Valley, New Zealand, Chile, and South Africa.
Besides green undertones, usually associated with green bell peppers or grass, Sauvignon Blanc wines are also selected by many spicy food lovers because of their sweet notes.
Riesling wines, also known as Johannisberger, are famous for their aromatic profile. They offer high acid levels and flowery notes and are at the base of sweet and semi-sweet profiles. You have to wait a long time for the sweetest Riesling wines to age, at least 10 years.
In many cases, Riesling wines stop the fermentation process once they reach the 7% residual sugar level and absorb as much freshness and fruitiness as possible. In return, the wines come with low alcohol content alongside strong flavors of pineapples, dried apricot, peach, and crisp minerals.
These wines also have a smooth finish and strong aromas of pears, mangos, and peaches. Although these wines taste sweet, the acid balances it out perfectly. This makes them an excellent pair for spicy Thai foods.