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THEY say variety is the spice of life - and having the right bottle to hand can be a game-changer, especially if you want to help lift your spicy shrimp, chilli burger or stir-fry, but don't want to send your taste buds off-kilter in the process.

So next time spicy food is on the menu, here are some top drops to enjoy with your flavourful dinner...

Sandara Chardonnay-Sake (PS2.79, 37.5cl, Aldi stores) A FUSION of Japanese rice wine and chardonnay, this is a gentle, colourless fizz in an off-dry style, with light blossomy notes and hints of pineapple. There's enough fruitiness to act as the perfect backdrop to fragrant Chinese dishes, and it is just 5.5% abv.

Kakapo White Wine, South Island, New Zealand (PS6, Asda) WITH flashes of freshness, this appealing blend of sauvignon blanc and riesling has all the limey, lemony, zestiness, with refreshing vibrancy topped with hints of exotic fruits - and the acidity to neutralise the heat of fiery Indian and Asian dishes, or anything with wasabi.

Luis Felipe Edwards Reserva Viognier 2018, Central Valley, Chile (currently reduced to PS6.74 from PS8.99 until Feb 19, Waitrose) ONE of the virtues of viognier is that this increasingly popular, richly scented, peachy white tastes delicious on its own, but also pairs beautifully with aromatic and spicy foods. We have alluring florals and sumptuous peach and apricot fruit, but with the perfect balance of freshness and richness to enjoy with mildly spiced dishes, such as chicken korma or coronation chicken.

Tesco Finest Lambrusco DOC Frizzante, Reggiano, Italy (PS7, Tesco) LAMBRUSCO is shaking off its kitsch image, and you'd be surprised how this softly sparkling red from Italy slips down a treat with spicy Italian sausage. Extremely quaffable, this ripe, tangy expression is light on its feet at 8% abv, but with enough juicy, fruity sweetness, dark berry and cherry flavours, and bright acidity that makes you want to dive right in. Serve chilled.

Famille Perrin Les Cardinaux, Rhone 2016, France (PS10, Co-op stores) WHAT goes well with chilli con carne and sweet chilli burgers? Young, soft, fruity reds with light tannins, such as this good-value Rhone red. A blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre, the plush black cherry fruit, spice, soft tannins and balanced acidity strikes the perfect balance.

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Publication:Chester Chronicle (Chester, England)
Date:Feb 21, 2019
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