Chilli Paneer & Chingri Malai Curry with Sparkling Wine

10th August 2020

Indian Food and Wine

It may surprise many that it isn’t necessarily beer that pairs best with Indian food!

Most of the curry dishes that we consume in the UK have somewhat been westernised so to cater to our tastes and many of these dishes are served up at curry restaurants across the country. With dishes holding spices, savoury, sweetness and more we can very much look into pairing curry with Champagne and sparkling wines giving us an explosion of taste varieties, calming down the spices and cleaning the palate.

Many would say that curry is a typical English dish to run alongside pizza, fish & chips and Sunday roasts! I am sure many of us have or know of someone that has spent an evening enjoying curry at their local curry house after a good evening session of drinks, a classic agenda for many.

There is something about Indian cuisine that we love here and this has lead to, over recent years, an increased amount of restaurants, foods / sauces / spices and more that are available for us to purchase from / eat within in order to experiment and explore more native cuisines.

There are six main styles of curry that remain the most popular:

  • Dhansak
  • Tikka Masala
  • Saag
  • Korma
  • Jalfrezi
  • Vindaloo

Each offers a different cooking style and end flavour. All are ideal to pair with sparkling wines.

Normally, whenever anyone asks me of the best sparkling wines to pair with curry / spicy dishes I would turn to a traditional method rosé such as a Champagne or something bold in flavours as a Brut Sekt.

A Punjabi and Bengali experienced cook gave us a visit recently and a quick afternoon of cooking two classic dishes from this region which of course meant it was upon us to choose two sparkling wines to pair with each.

Rupa Datta, who has been a friend and visitor to Glass of Bubbly events over the years, wanted to put to test some of the award winning sparkling wines of Glass of Bubbly to see how they complement Indian cuisine. Punjabi (northern India) and Bengali (eastern India) were chosen by Rupa as the two regions of her parents of which her household are very familiar with these styles of cooking.

Chilli Paneer

Chilli Paneer


Chilli Paneer & Motzenbacker Riesling Marie Brut

Motzenbacker is a German winery located close to the French border, south of Frankfurt with a fine selection of sparkling wines to choose from. They also hold the title of Sustainability awarded to them at the Glass of Bubbly Awards 2019 by Slow Food for their contributions to sustaining the environment.

Tasting notes: “Plenty of deep, ripe fruity flavours on the nose to include peach, apricot, green apples and citrus. Soft yet refreshing flavours of red berry, peach and pink grapefruits with a zesty length.

Pairing notes: “The wine stood up well to the dish. The paneer dish was not too spicy which enabled the wine to concentrate on neutralising the oily texture to leave smooth paneer and pepper (vegetable) flavours. The wine certainly exhibits its fruity characters with this dish so it can certainly handle more spice themed cuisine.

Chingri Malai curry

Chingri Malai curry


Chingri Malai curry (Prawn, coconut curry) & Champagne Faniel et Fils Blanc de Blancs Appogia

The Champagne house of Faniel et Fils is a grower label located north-west of Epernay in the small village of Cormoyeux. A fine selection of Champagne the house offers with a particular favourite of mine being their Blanc de Blancs which holds a great fruity acidity that is perfect for softer spiced dishes such as those with creamy / coconut sauces.

Tasting notes: “A blast of yellow fruits and zestiness on the nose with softer honey and brioche in the length as the wine warms. The flavours are refreshing and crisp, yellow fruits shine with floral notes and a pleasing amount of acidity thrown in to enable it to pair with a variety of dishes to include spicy and fatty.

Pairing notes: “The dish and wine matched perfectly pushing aside the acidity and spices to enable the savoury fish and yellow fruits of the wine to dominate the palate. A silky cream length with a clean and fresh end.

Christopher Walkey

Christopher Walkey

Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.