Happy new year. I know lots of people make new year’s resolutions that they never stick to but here’s one that is easy to follow. Make 2022 your year to explore the world of wine, break outside your comfort zone and find some new favourites.

So let’s start exploring. This month, Neven has challenged me with finding a great wine pairing to serve with Thai food.

You might remember back in October when Neven did his Indian curry night, one of the wine pairings I suggested was riesling. I explained that riesling is a great wine to pair with takeaways (or fakeaways.) That’s because Indian and Asian food usually has spice, so it’s good to have wine with a little sweetness to balance it.

Riesling’s natural sugar/acid balance is a classic Asian food pairing and it’s very compatible with the hot, sour, salty and sweet elements of the dishes. However, these dishes are mild enough so we’re opting for dry riesling.

If you’re a red wine lover, we’re going to take the same approach. Keep away from big, bold red wines with these dishes. They tend to be higher in alcohol and tannin and will burn the mouth off you if your pad Thai has a bit of heat. Instead, opt for light and fruity red wines.

Beaujolais is a good choice. It is a light-bodied red wine with high acidity and low tannins, offering plenty of refreshment beside the spicy notes. The bright acidity helps keep the palate cleansed and refreshed and really highlights the individual flavours of the pad Thai such as the nuts and the vegetables.

Peter & Peter Riesling

Simply Better at Dunnes Stores, €15

A dry riesling is a perfect pairing with these Thai dishes which have a little spice but aren’t overpowering. Riesling has six levels of sweetness so when you want a dry one, look for the word “Trocken” on the label. Also consider the alcohol level. With 8% to 10% alcohol, you can assume there is some residual sugar but over 11% would be considered dry. This Peter & Peter comes from the Mosel Valley, one of the best places in the world to source your riesling. A very fresh and crisp wine, you’ll get lots of juicy apple and a little bit of pear and apricot complimented by some zingy lime flavours and mineral acidity.

Robert Weil Rheingau Riesling Kabinett

O’Brien Wines, €28.95

With a top-quality vineyard with mineral-rich soils, Robert Weil is famous in the world of riesling. In this wine, you get those classic apple and pear flavours with some citrussy lemon but it’s a bit more complex with ripe exotic notes, like mango, shining through which will work with those Asian flavours. It’s also got good acidity to balance the natural residual sweetness, with a lovely textured silky palate. Yes, we’re all watching our money in January but we also deserve a treat. And as people are drinking less this month, they may be willing to spend a little more on one bottle rather than buying two and this is definitely one to enjoy.

Specially Selected Fleurie

Aldi, €8.99

There are 10 different beaujolais cru and one of the most popular is fleurie. This ticks our food pairing box as it is light bodied. Lovely red fruit flavours shine through, especially raspberries and strawberries, but there are also notes of pepper. It’s not the most complex of red wines but it’s balanced with some acidity and if you are on a budget this January then this is a good choice.

Chanson Beaujolais-Villages

O’Brien Wines, €16.95

This wine really has the name behind it because Chanson Père et Fils is owned by the iconic Champagne House Bollinger. Not surprisingly, it is recognised for quality and consistency. You get those strawberry and raspberry flavours with a hint of cherry but it’s nuanced with some minerality. It’s light and fun but also quite elegant and it has silky soft tannins. Consider chilling for a few minutes before serving with your meal.

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