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Wine Pairing advice from the experts at Olea Mediterranean Restaurant at Meliá Yangon

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South-east Asian food can be a real challenge for those looking to pair their favorite local fare with a nice bottle of wine.  With chili being such an  important  part  of the food in this region, I am often asked what wines I recommend when eating spicy food. When pairing wines with spicy  foods, we need to understand one very important element of  the dish – heat. Many people I speak to generally perceive Shiraz to be a great match under the thinking of powerful and spicy wine, must match powerful and spicy food. While the concept follows the general rules of wine pairing – “match  flavors  with  flavors”,  the downfall  is  the  alcohol  content in  Shiraz – especially  those  from  Australia.

Alcohol is inherently hot, and by adding this to an already fiery mouth. The burning sensation of the food becomes amplified by the alcohol, offering you no respite from the attack your palate is under. I believe some of the best pairing for the spicy dishes in the region can be found in the “aromatic” section of the wine list at Olea Mediterranean Restaurant.  Medium-sweet Rieslings are a place to start, as too is Gewürztraminer due to its aromatic profile matching that flavors of the region.

The lower alcohol content these varietals often have, combined with the chilled serving temperature and residual sugar do a great job of taming the fire in your mouth, while the aromatic palette will generally enhance underlying flavors. For those of  you who really want to stick with red wines – stay  clear of  tannic,  high  alcohol  varietals  such as Cabernet Sauvignon  and  Shiraz, and  look to  Beaujolais or  Zinfandel for your fix. Their lower tannin content will rein in bitterness and bring out some great nuances of your dish.

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