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yalumba eden valley viognier 2008
I’ve never understood the ‘lads night out’ curry thing. The hottest, mouth-numbing, curry they can stomach and copious jugs of lager. I want to taste my food. I don’t want to drink pints of nats-pee either thank you very much. Curry nights therefore are not on my calendar. An Indian take-away might make an appearance but the order results in the same old thing each time.

Cooking Indian at home doesn’t happen often either. The thought of all those ingredients is rather off putting and anything too spice-hot is just going to ruin any decent wine. With interest then thumbing through the recipes in Mallika Basu’s new book, Miss Masala, discovering some accessible and wine-friendly (hopefully) dishes.

Page 80 details Murgh Masala – the ultimate simple chicken curry – the key it seems is cooking the chicken on the bone “to enjoy the full flavour of spiced stocked in the curry”; quite surprised too with the number of recipes that utilise yoghurt, Greek yoghurt at that. There is a fine level of spice in this basic recipe, just a teaspoon of chilli powder and half a teaspoon of turmeric, root ginger, garlic, garam masala, onion completes the flavour. Also interesting was the instruction to add a pinch of sugar to the hot oil. This caramelises and lends the dish a “lovely red glow later without the need for food colouring”.

The other issue with an ‘Indian’ is that several different dishes are served at the same time, making it tricky to get a decent wine match. Here, with just this one chicken dish, and some simple rich to accompany the choice was easy – something weighty, full and rounded with a hint of mysticism. Step forward a decent Australian Viognier… leap-frogging over a new-world Chardonnay, which would have been an alternative.

The wine of choice then to accompany Murgh Masala is Yalumba Eden Valley Australian Viognier. The current vintage in Waitrose is 2008 and comes in at £9.99. The wines plumpness and exotic peach and apricot flavours melding very nicely with the dish.

White Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier, 2008, Eden Valley, Australia.

Stockist: Waitrose Price: £9.99 [More: Adegga / Snooth]
Melded with the peach and apricot silkiness is an exotic spice twist plus a hint of lemon, and honeysuckle. Weighty palate, delicious drinking. Alcohol 14.5%

Scribblings Rating – 90/100 [3.75 out of 5]

murgh masala


  1. Alex says:

    I hope this means you’ll cook more curry at home! We’ve got to the point now that, by and large, we prefer home made curries to take aways or even eating out. We do normally go for beers as an accompaniment though!

  2. Judging on the ease and decent results from this dish and one to follow, then yes, I expect I will.

  3. Mallika says:

    Great choice of vino. I’ve never really got the let’s-get-pissed-and-eat-phal-curry thing either!

  4. Surely the residual sugar is too low to offset the chilli heat? Of course if that is what the objective is.
    To add to the Friday night chilli burn go for a big alcoholic red tannic wine.
    Warren Edwardes

  5. Alsatian Pinot Gris or a Gerwertz usually does the trick for me; and a bottle of Blue Nun chilled to close to absolute zero always enhances the flock-walled ambiance of my local curry house.

  6. Me thinks, Mr Townend, that one is slightly taking the proverbial p :-)

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