It’s hard enough to figure out what wine goes best with pasta primavera. But that leftover curry? We throw our hands up. Do you go red or white? Sweet or dry? Light or full-bodied? We tapped wine expert Steve Unwin at Wine Library for the skinny on what to drink and when. Happy pairing!

Indian

Indian

Indian food--with its wildly diverse signature spice blends—is best served with low-alcohol Pinot Noirs or whites made from Rousanne, Marsanne and Viognier. Plus, since many sauces rely on dairy, you should look for something with enough body and complexity to cut through fat. 

Try: 2013 Louis Barruol Cote Du Rhone Blanc ($20) or 2010 Clone 5 Santa Barbara Pinot Noir ($16)

Asian

Southeast Asian

Sauvignon Blanc is a great way to match the intensity and aromatics of ingredients like lemongrass, kafir lime leaf and fish sauce. But for super-spicy meals, stick with a low-alcohol white, like a traditional Sancerre.

Try: 2013 The Neighbor Sauvignon Blanc ($15) or 2014 Hubert Brochard Sancerre Los Collines Blanches ($19)

Chinese1

Chinese

For sweet, tangy dishes like General Tso’s Chicken, try an off-dry (which actually means slightly sweet) Riesling or a hyper-American Zinfandel with jammy fruit and doughy oak.

Try: 2013 Vols Wiltinger Riesling Spatlese Vols Li ($29) or 2011 Scotto Family Old Vine Zinfandel ($15)

Japanese

Japanese

Japanese cuisine is heavily reliant on umami ingredients like dashi, soy and mushrooms--all of which you’ll want to counter with something big and juicy, like a Malbec. (That is, if you’re forgoing the sake.)

Try: 2013 Bodegas Chakana Red ($23)

MiddleEastern

Middle Eastern

Flavors like preserved lemon, cumin and rosewater make Middle Eastern food tough to nail down. Unwin looks to Italy and grapes like Nebbiolo--which has the oomph to pair with lamb and the acidity to balance herbs like za’atar.

Try: 2009 Nino Costa Roero ($14)

AfricanFood

African

Go for something fresh and light like a Vinho Verde (the low alcohol also comes in handy when the heat gets dialed up). Or, since traditional Ethiopian beverages tend to be sweet and honey-based, a juicy Shiraz works well, too.

Try: Famega Vinho Verde ($6) or 2012 Rocland Estate Chocolate Box Chocolate Cherry GSM ($14)

EasternEuropean

Eastern European

Potatoes. Beef. Tomatoes. Beets. These staple ingredients scream for Cabernet Sauvignon. If sauerkraut and other pickled components are on the menu, try a floral, almost candy-like Gewurtztraminer.

Try: 2010 Clone 5 Paso Cabernet Sauvignon ($15) or 2012 Abbazia Di Novacella Gewurztraminer ($22)

MexicanFood

Mexican

Big bold flavors like chile, cilantro and pork demand a wine that’s equally big and bold, like a Syrah-Grenache blend. Still, it’s never a bad idea to just reach for a Tecate.

 

Try: 2013 The Neighbor Red Blend ($16)

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