Thai New Year, or Songkran is celebrated from April 13th to April 15th. The official Thai New Year celebrates the passing of the sun from Aries to Taurus. This is a solar event associated with the lunar calendar and traditional farming cycles which trace back hundreds of years.
The gentle “sprinkling of water” was the custom hundreds of years ago, however, times have changed and the gentle sprinkling of water is now a three day water fight.
The celebration of a New Year in any culture is always marked by their special customs and a delicious feast. Thai foods and flavors are a combination of sweet, sour, hot, and salty. Most often the courses are served at the same time. Their feast will have everything from the salad and soup, to deep fried or steamed items, and maybe a creamy coconut curry. Wow, I’m getting hungry thinking about all these delicious flavors. But all these flavors can pose a challenge when trying to find the right wine pairings.
Knowing what to expect from all these flavors I would not recommend red wines. The hot and spicy flavors will make the tannins scream in your mouth and will taste unpleasant. The sweetness in the foods will make the reds seem flat.
Try pairing these flavors with a white, un-oaked wine with crisp acidity that will stand up to the hot and sour flavors. A crisp Riesling or Gewurztraminer are both good choices for this cuisine.
We can make this a little easier by separating the lighter dishes from the richer, spicier dishes. Pair the lighter dishes with a crisp dry Riesling or Pinot Gris. For the richer and spicier dishes pair them with a lightly sweet Gewurztraminer.
Just in case you will not have an opportunity to celebrate the Thai New Year, but will be having Chinese take-out this weekend, do try these wine recommendations. They work equally well with many Asian style dishes.
So in the spirit of the Thai New Year, get wet, and stay cool. Enjoy the fun!