Challenging Wine Pairing: Thai Red Curry Beef

By LaGayle ~ May 11th, 2011.

Thai food is so popular that I wanted to do another Thai dish for a challenging wine pairing. Since our family especially enjoys spicy dishes, I decided to try a red curry dish using strips of sirloin steak in this recipe. Delicious!

The menu for this pairing consisted of the Thai red curry beef dish, rice, sautéed snow peas, and fresh mango. As with most of our challenging wine pairing dinners, I consulted What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page to determine what wines to pair with the meal.

While there are a number of wines that can be paired with this dish, we decided to go with a Zinfandel blend and a Merlot. We enjoyed the 2009 Ridge Three Valleys Zinfandel blend from California’s Sonoma County and a 2007 Watermill Merlot from the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley. While both wines were excellent, three of the four of us preferred the Zinfandel blend with the meal.

We’d love for you to share in the comments what you would have paired with this meal. And, as always, we welcome your suggestions for challenging wine pairings for us to try in the future.

Bon Appétit!

2009 Ridge Three Valleys (Sonoma County, California): 70% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 15% Carignane, 3% Grenache, and 2% Mataro. Deep, dark purplish red. Nice nose with red cherry, clove, and spice aromas. Flavors of red fruits, particularly strawberry, and spice. Medium to full-bodied with medium, soft tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $22.79; Available elsewhere, $18 to $29

2007 Watermill Merlot (Walla Walla Valley, Oregon): Deep, dark purple. Aromatic with black fruits, especially black cherry and black plum, and smoke on the nose. More black cherry, black plum, coffee, and baker’s chocolate come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $24; Available elsewhere, $22

Filed under: American Wine, California Wine, Challenging Wine Pairing, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Food & Wine, Merlot, Oregon Wine, Red Wine, Wines Under $25, Zinfandel

Reader's Comments

  1. Jim Rutledge | May 11th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Try Thurston Wolfe PGV (Pinot Gris /Viognier) with Thai food. You’ll appreciate it.

  2. Mike Veseth | May 11th, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I like Jim’s PGV idea a lot. We had a similar dish recently and used it as an excuse to pair it with Charles Smith’s Kung Fu Girl Riesling, which is obviously targeted at Asia cuisine. It worked well. Had a Gamache Riesling with a similar dish and it was a nice combination, too. Keep up the good work!

  3. Terry | May 11th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    A couple of classmates and I got a chance to taste 2010’s Northwest Wine Academy releases and we highly recommend 2010 Northwest Wine Academy Resling and Rousanne. *yummy* We all look foward to your postings:)

  4. TheGourmetCoffeeGuy | May 11th, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    I have to say that I like both the wine pairing and the dinner recipe! Great idea to serve fresh sliced mango with the Thai red curry spicy beef. The fruit freshness enhances the meat and reduces the “zest” of the sauce. The wine makes it all the more delectable… great choices as usual.

  5. Kori | May 14th, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Thanks for the PGV recommendation. We’ll have to try that pairing next time.

    Thanks! Yes, Riesling is such a great food wine. I bet that was a great pairing.

    Thanks for your kind words. I’d love to try the NWA wines sometime.

    The mango was a great touch. Thanks, as always.


  6. Heidi | February 12th, 2012 at 7:28 am

    I was surprised to see a high tannin red paired with a spicy dish like curry. I think the spiciness of the curry with the tannins would make for a pretty intense experience. If you wanted a red wine, I would have gone with a low tannin Rioja or maybe a Beaujolais. My favorite pairing with spicy Thai food is a nice fruity rose with a dry acidic finish, like 2010 Chateau Grande Cassagne Rose Costieres de Nimes.

  7. Kori | February 14th, 2012 at 11:25 am

    As you’ll see in the tasting notes, the Ridge had medium, soft tannins which worked well with the spicy red curry. I agree that a big, bold, high tannin red would not work as well. Thanks for sharing your pairing recommendations. Cheers!