Modern Spice Potluck Dinner – Wine Selection

Wine write Gretchen Roberts provided this smart and fun advice on what our dinner guests could pair with our potluck dinner –

Indian food and wine may not be a traditional match, but Modern Spice is no traditional cookbook. Its tagline "Inspired Indian flavors for the contemporary kitchen" dares us to take chances with our drinks, too. Inspired? Good.  In addition to Monica's two lip-smacking cocktails, here are some wines to try if you get an itch to cook up recipes from the Modern Spice Virtual Dinner Party.

Appetizers, entrees, and sides—Before choosing a wine, take a good look at the food. All of these recipes are light (as in white meat) and green (as in vegetarian). Some have a cream base, and all have their own signature mixture of savory Indian spices. Most have at least a touch of heat, if not more. All of these characteristics call for a wine that's got good acidity (which tastes refreshing in the face of complex food), low tannins (compounds from red grape skins that tend to clash with vegetables), low alcohol (hot spice + alcohol = blazing mouth) and a shrinking violet personality.

Oh yes, wine can have a personality–try a top-notch Burgundy or an aged dessert wine if you don't believe me. But just as two assertive people can clash unbecomingly, so can a bold dish with a brash wine. Since Indian food is fairly complex with layers of flavors, textures, colors, and tastes, a simpler wine will complement, but not overwhelm, it.

To that end, any of these varietals would go beautifully with the Modern Spice dishes:

Pinot Gris

Off-Dry (slightly sweet) Riesling

Rosé (a dry pink wine drunk chilled like a white)

Barbera (a light red from Italy)

Pinot Noir (not a monster-style from

California, but a delicate 


or Oregon Pinot)

Cabernet Franc (again, a lighter style from the Loire or New York) 

Desserts –With more spices, sweet coconut, tangy sweet mango and creamy rice pudding, the desserts are another showcase demanding a subservient wine. Try a Moscato d'Asti, a light, slightly sweet, slightly bubbly, low alcohol white wine from Italy.

Gretchen Roberts writes Vinobite [link], a daily note about wine, food, culture, travel, and a free Friday giveaway. Sign up today at

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