I will be preparing a stir-fry entree, served with rice, consisting of:

  • Chicken, seared after applying the spice rub, then sauteed with citrus (lemon and lime).
  • Red and yellow bell peppers, carrots, and (possibly) baby corn
  • A sweet, thin chili sauce, applied sparingly; the stir fry will not be swimming in it
  • Spices (dry), used as a rub for the chicken and (lightly) applied to the vegetables during frying: salt, garlic (only a little), ginger, several different kinds of pepper (mostly hot)

This will be a substantially hot dish, enough so that the average restaurant patron would complain and send it back. The citrus also comes through quite strongly in the chicken. The dish works quite well, with the main tastes being hot and acid, accompanied by an undercurrent of sweetness.

I'm entertaining and a wine is required, but, as I don't often drink it with this style of cuisine or flavor profile, I don't know what would make a good accompaniment. I'm leaning towards something mildly sweet, dry and crisp, but I'm unsure how it would get along with the citrus.

3 Answers 3


In my experience, dry wines risk being completely killed by hot food.

The classical pairing would be an aromatic white, like Gewürztraminer or Riesling, with substantial sweetness. Germany is the role model here, especially the wines around Spätlese and Auslese levels, with Alsace a close second. (They're also great QPR, but that's a secondary concern.)

The sweetness will ease the heat of the food and lets you actually taste the wine, and good semi-sweet wines (especially Rieslings) will have very good acidity so the citrus won't be a problem.


The white wines I would pair with this sort of dish would have sweetness and acidity, plus a bit of a mineral edge, so Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, or maybe an un-oaked Chardonnay.

There are some red wines that would work as well but you'd want light without too many tannins, for instance a beaujolais, pinot noir, cincaut, or lambrusco. Some primitivos (Zinfandels) may work, they can vary widely in character though.

Rose could also work, it all depends on where you are any what's available. In some places roses are cheap get me drunk plonk so be careful.

You could also go for something bubbly like a cava or a prosecco, they are usually inexpensive compared to champagne and just as good.


I'd opt crisp rose personally to accent the fruity citrus flavors of your sauce without being completely over powered which. I feel a white would be killed by all the spice yet a red would be too dry to compliment such a dish.

A Zinfandel is probably the best bet. Quite a summery, but your dish sounds that way inclined anyway :)

Something like this: http://barefootwine.co.uk/our-wines/white-zinfandel

Though personally I'd just go for a larger by choice :-)

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