Pairing spice with wine: Jamaican Jerk

Mark Hughes Drinks, General, Ideas, Main Courses, Rubs 3 Comments

GUEST POST from Simon Wright: Pairing Spice with wine!

This is the second in a series of guest posts by Simon Wright, manager of a wine shop in Cambridge who we met at a food festival. He wanted to come up with pairings for our spice to give people a better understanding of how different spices work well with wines and craft beers. You can find out more about all-things-wine on his blog and we hope you enjoy experimenting with his suggestions as much as we did!

Jamaican Jerk

Jamaican Jerk 2The Jamaican Jerk rub is punchy, packs a bit of fire, and brings a ton of character to any bit of meat or fish you wish to marry it with. As a result, we don’t want to pick a wine with bold, forceful flavours that will compete with all the deliciousness of the rub, so I’m putting all my proverbial jerk chicken eggs into the basket of Pinot Gris. 

Pinot Gris is exactly the same grape variety as Pinot Grigio, however, when labeled ‘Gris’ we can assume that the wine hails from the Alsace region of France, or is made in a characteristically Alsatian style. This style differs from its Italian namesake as it has a much fuller body, and can have an almost oily richness about it. Fruit flavours tend to be quite neutral in Pinot Gris wines, often fairly restrained notes of pear and melon. It can often have a bit of ‘residual sugar’ (apologies for the nerdy terminology!) or ‘sweetness’ about it, though nothing like the levels of sugar found in something like a dessert wine. In fact, this sweetness works perfectly with spicy dishes, helping to provide a bit of respite to the heat. 

That’s one of the reasons why I think Pinot Gris works so well with the Jerk seasoning: the relationship between the slight sweetness and the spice with the richness of the body ensures the wine maintains a touch of personality instead of being completely overpowered by the tastiness of the spice rub.

As well as Alsace, you’ll find some delicious Pinot Gris coming from New Zealand, and I’d recommend either region when it comes to pairing with the Jerk.

If you like the sound of this pairing, and decide to try it out, I’d love to hear your feedback. If you have any questions at all, either on finding a good Pinot Gris or food and wine matching in general, don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can contact me through my blog or via Twitter.

See you next time!


Jamaican Jerk Wine Pairing


Comments 3

  1. Thank you Simon! I am extremely grateful to be able to benefit from your expert knowledge.

    I have just returned from the Chilli Festival at Frosts, Woburn Sands where I met a supremely pleasant member of the Taste Spice Team. No sales technique was required; the explosive tastes speak for themselves. All senses alive! Visually – colourful and well presented, the aromas are genuine (figs & dates – pure bliss), quality is unquestionable! I came away with twelve bottles of various Balsamic vinegars. Next on the agenda is the rubs and the infused oils….

    And now wines recommended to compliment and complete! Inspirational…

    Looking forward to more from you.

    1. Post

      Thanks, Diane! It was lovely to see you again and I hope you and the lucky ‘giftees’ enjoy their treats!
      We’ve found Simon’s posts really interesting as it does indeed open up a whole new avenue of flavour, so stay tuned for more to come!
      Thanks again for taking the time to comment.
      Mark 🙂

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