Curry dishes are notoriously difficult to pair with wine. This is because there are a variety of spices, and historically, there are no traditional food and wine pairings to fall back on in India. Fortunately, Butter Chicken is one of the more rich but mild Indian influenced dishes available, and this gives us a few more options to go with.
Acidic, but rich white wines, like Chardonnay, aged Riesling, or Grenache Blanc, will match the body perfectly while cutting through the creamy sauce. Meanwhile Rosé (especially sparkling Rosé), as well as medium-bodied red wines lower in tannin, such as Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Barbera or Lambrusco, make for excellent pairings.
Chardonnay & Butter Chicken Pairing
An Oaked Chardonnay has a rich, full-bodied texture that makes it wonderful with buttery and creamy dishes. With toasty notes of vanilla and coconut, the wine complements certain elements found in the spices used for Butter Chicken. Meanwhile, the tropical fruit flavours we love in Chardonnay fans out some of the heat in the curry and cleanses the palate, making each bite taste fresh.
Grenache Blanc & Butter Chicken
Grenache Blanc has notes of green apple, pear, peach, and lime notes that help electrify the complex flavours found in butter chicken. On the palate, expect plump juicy pear flavours, with a spicy herbal and mineral finish. This is an intense wine that has no issue standing up to curry driven flavours of Butter Chicken. Like Chardonnay, you still have that acidic crispness that will cut through the rich buttery and cream component of Butter Chicken. But you also have that spicy component on the finish that leaves you tasting both the wine and the butter chicken.
Grenache Blanc is also higher in alcohol content then your typical white wine. (It ranges from 13%-15%). With this in mind, ensure your Butter Chicken isn’t overly spicy, as higher alcohol content will make the capsicum content found in spicy peppers burn.
Rosé & Butter Chicken
In order to match the weight of Butter Chicken, you need a medium bodied wine with plenty of acidity. A deep coloured Rosé, such as Tavel or Saignée Rosé, fits this profile perfectly, as it’s dry with plenty crisp acidity. While pink in colour, we assure you that Rosé is not sweet at all. While it does have notes of raspberry, blackberry and strawberry we’d say Rosé tends to be slightly tart as opposed to sweet.
To add more flair to the pairing, select a dry sparkling Rosé. The bubbles in the wine help cut through the rich, creamy texture of the buttery sauce, while the fruity flavours brings focus to the texture in the slow-cooked chicken.
Lambrusco & Butter Chicken Pairing
We’d suggest Lambrusco Grasparossa for Butter Chicken, which is a bolder style of Lambrusco with medium tannin. Lambrusco Grasparossa has fruity flavours of blueberry and black currant that makes it refreshing when paired up with Butter Chicken. Slightly fizzy, Lambrusco has a touch of carbonation that helps the wine cut through the richness of the butter and cream used in Butter Chicken. Low in alcohol, Lambrusco won’t set your tongue on fire if pitted against extra spicy Butter Chicken.
Zinfandel & Butter Chicken Pairing
Select a medium-bodied Zinfandel that is slightly sweet and will complement the sweetness of the butter chicken sauce. The slight sweetness of Zinfandel will help soften any powerful spices and bring the slow cooked chicken flavours into focus.