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I'm feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

The widely held belief that wine and spicy food do not mix is being challenged, with remarkable results. Andrew Catchpole gets adventurous...

Many people still think that exotic spices, unusual textures and foreign flavours play havoc with the subtle complexities of wine. Go east of Istanbul and, from a wine lover's view, you'll soon find that Asian food is crammed with inscrutable character assassins. From India to China, Vietnam to Japan, difficult customers lie in wait. Playing havoc: 'with complex Indian dishes you really need to address the interplay of spices'

The list is long. Think about the chilli, ginger, cardamom, mustard and tamarind of India; Thailand's aromatic kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, galangal (and more chilli); or perhaps the soupy noodles, sticky stir-fries, sushi and sashimi of China or Japan. Match these with you favourite Cabernet or Chardonnay and, chances are, the result will be a tongue curler. It's no wonder the locals wash down their nosh with tea or cold beer.

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