10-Minute Wine Pairing: Sweet Potato Chicken Curry

Find three wine strategies for a saucy and sweet chicken curry recipe.

The Best Wine for Sweet Potato Chicken Curry

Photo: John Autry

The Best Wine for Sweet Potato Chicken Curry

With a spicy, early fall dish like chicken and sweet potato curry, offer these beer and wine styles.

View Recipe: Sweet Potato Chicken Curry

A Soft, Aromatic, Off-Dry White

Photo: Randy Mayor

Match #1: A Soft, Aromatic, Off-Dry White

A soft white with a touch of sweetness rounds out the edges of the pungent sauce.

ZEROING IN: Easy on the alcohol and long on stone-fruit flavors, Washington state rieslings match perfectly with big, fiery foods from Southern and Southeast Asia. Although this recipe is not blazing hot, a touch of sweetness helps temper the curry and ground red pepper.

Snoqualmie Naked Riesling (pictured) Washington, 2009 ($12)

Pacific Rim, Riesling, Washington, 2010 ($10)

A Crisp, Clean Hard Apple Cider

Photo: Randy Mayor

Match #2: A Crisp, Clean Hard Apple Cider

Sweet apple flavors and palate-cleansing bitterness complement the curry's assertive seasonings.

ZEROING IN: Hard cider combines low alcohol with the off-dry crispness of white wine to create an unexpected complement to Indian flavors like curry, turmeric, and ginger. A subtle sizzle of carbonation cuts through the recipe's overall richness.

Angry Orchard Crisp Apple (pictured) Ohio ($8/six-pack)

Woodchuck Hard Cider, Vermont ($8/six-pack)

A Soft and Fruity Red

Photo: Randy Mayor

Match #3: A Soft and Fruity Red

A midweight red, light on tongue-gripping tannins, stands up to the recipe's spice and acidity.

ZEROING IN: Try a Chilean merlot. These easy-drinking wines are full of ripe red fruit flavors—the key to pairing reds with intensely flavored recipes. Curry often packs both acid and heat (here, from red pepper and tomatoes), delivering a knockout blow to less fruity wines with heavier oak and tannins. 

Casa Lapostolle Merlot (pictured) Chile, 2011 ($12)

Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Merlot, Chile, 2011 ($11)

Oops Mismatch

Photo: Randy Mayor

Oops! Mismatch

Oak and tannins are the enemies of bold, spicy foods. For example, toasty, barrel-fermented chardonnay comes off as bitter, and astringent reds like cabernet sauvignon and syrah only crank up the heat.

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