Top Pairs: Indian Food Wine Pairings at Manhattan's Junoon Restaurant
An ice-cold bottle of Kingfisher Lager leaps into your head—because you’re familiar with the beer’s bready sweetness and punchy herbal hops, and because you’ve been asked, “what goes with both Madras curry and Rogan Josh?” In India, from the Kashmir to Kerala, proteins and vegetables typically cede center stage to sauces of varying density, curries, spice, and heat. And chilled malt and hops have long been the antidote to piquant aggression. But for the thinking person’s beverage director or sommelier, India’s kaleidoscope of spice combinations and variable heat spectrum begs for something more than a simple thirst-quencher.
The dryness and low alcohol content of a cold brew may be adept at soothing palates set ablaze by spice, but Master Sommelier and lecturer Scott Carney of Junoon in New York City wants to introduce guests to the illimitable nuances of wine and their power when paired with Indian food. With wine, he hopes “to give the food and its complexity more respect. Beer is the default beverage setting [for Indian cuisine.] But I think the food here warrants something more than that.”
- 27 West 24th Street
- New York, NY 10010
- (212) 490-2100
- Sommelier Scott Carney
- Long before Scott Carney came on as beverage director of Junoon, he was an integral player in the New York City wine scene, earning his Master Sommelier title while directing the beverage program at Gotham Bar & Grill. Since Junoon's opening in December 2010, Carney has built the restaurant's wine list from scratch, assembling 250 labels to accompany Chef Vika Khanna’s cuisine. Carney's pairings harmonize wine with the complexities of Indian spices and sauces, and complement the wide array of cooking techniques found in Indian gastronomy. He has found that, unlike beer, wines can either amplify the heat in a dish or soothe the palate suffering from too much spice. Carney is inspired by the “excitement of sensory travel,” and invites diners “to pack curiosity and explore the sub-continent” through the interplay between its cuisine and the fruit of the vine.