Wine pairing is not an easy task. In fact, finding the right wine for the right dishes can be quite an art. By pairing the right wine, you can really lift the dish to the next level whereas serving the wrong wine can really spoil the whole dish.
It is often thought that spicy food, like for example many Turkish dishes, should be paired with a refreshing beer. Of course, beer, spicy food and the Turkish heat work very well together, but that doesn´t mean that Turkish dishes can´t be paired with wine. Actually, wine can be a great addition to a good Turkish meal!
Most Turkish dishes work well with a wide range of wines. And although it´s not traditional to drink wine in Turkish restaurants, it becomes more and more normal. Both Turkish wines and international wines can be a great combination with the typical recipes.
If you´re looking at the typical Turkish dishes that are spicy, a great combination are the more esoteric Italian whites or whites that are a bit acid to complement the spicy food.
The Turkish meat main dishes with lamb or beef usually pair well with reds. Most meat dishes are sprinkled with a mix of pepper and black fruit-infused spices which go really well with red wine. If you are looking at grilled meats, you will want to pair it with the big-bodied reds like Merlot, Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon. Other options here would be Malbecs from Argentina or reds from the Rhône zone to go with all kebab types or lamb topped with yoghurt-sides.
Unfortunately, we can´t go into every Turkish dish and provide you with the perfect wine to pair it with. However, what we can do is give you some basic guidelines to demystify wine pairing and provide you with the right tips to choose a good wine with your meal:
- Starters like the many varieties of dips with bread (for example, hummus, eggplant dip or yoghurt/cucumber/garlic dip) go very well with a crisp dry white wine.
- Main dishes consisting of meat should go with full-bodied red wine.
- Desserts (like Turkish delight) often are served with coffee or tea however if you want to have wine with it, make sure to have an acid wine to cut through the sweets.
Also, as with all wine and food pairing, there is not right or wrong, it all depends on your preferences and what you like. There is no wrong match and with such a wide variety of tastes and textures in the Turkish cuisine, trying out different wines to figure out which one you like best is part of the fun. If you have a chance, definitely also try the Turkish wines, they might not be very famous but the country sure produces some very good wines which are great for accompanying the delicious dishes.
What wines did you try with Turkish food? Which combination did you like best? If you have any other tips for wine pairing, leave them in the comments!