What Wine Goes with Indian Food?
This question came up while I was lucky enough to be having dinner with Rajat Parr at his house. Rajat is the wine director for the metastasizing Michael Mina Group, which seems to have a new restaurant going up somewhere in the world about every 15 seconds. Known as a miraculous blind taster and to have a deeply knowledgeable mind about wine, Rajat--and this is unknown to many--is also a world-class chef who graduated from the CIA in Hyde Park before deciding to devote his life to pairing food with wine instead of cooking it.
Fortunately for me, Rajat recently moved to within a few blocks of my house and has been breaking in his new digs by cooking at home. He called me over last week to share some Indian delights he'd cooked up, including spicy lentils with a Swiss chard topping, chicken in a light curry, naan and a spiced yogurt with cilantro.
"What wine could you possibly put with all this?" I asked. He answered by opening his favorite Rhone wine--Domaine Jamet, a top Cote-Rotie. Made entirely from Syrah, this wine wouldn't be entirely recognizable if you're used to soft, fruity, blueberry-toned Syrahs from California or electric purple types from Australia. No, this one was dense and meaty, with a pronounced pepper streak and an aroma of the earth. In fact, it perfectly complemented the Indian spices by both mirroring them and adding a whiff of fruit and spice.
I wasn't surprised by the dexterity of the pairing of this wine with the food, since Rajat is highly trained in both arts and furthermore cooked all the food. I was, however, very, very pleased. You can buy the wine at the Wine House.