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Unreserved Wine Talk

236 EpisodesProduced by Natalie MacLeanWebsite

The Unreserved Wine Talk podcast features candid conversations with the most fascinating people in the wine world. Your host, award-winning journalist Natalie MacLean, dives into how it feels to compete in the nerve-wracking World's Best Sommelier Competition, the shadowy underground of wine forgery… read more


68: Pairing Spicy Dishes & Wines with Vikram Vij and Sean Nelson

How sparkling wine spice up your menu? What complementary taste rule can you use to pair your food with wine? Which wines should you never pair with Indian food? Which red wine should be at the top of your list for pairing with spicy food? Does ambiance affect your wine tasting experience?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, Celebrity chef and author Vikram Vij and Head Sommelier Sean Nelson share their insider tips and tricks to help you pair wine with spicy, complex food like a pro.

  • What should you know about the Indian wine industry?
  • How should you approach food and wine pairing?
  • Should you drink sparkling wine throughout a meal?
  • Does Riesling pair well with spicy food?
  • Why does the specific Gewurtztraminer have to be carefully chosen when pairing with spicy food?
  • How can you keep your palate from feeling overwhelmed when tasting wine?
  • What can you expect from the wine selection at Vij’s?
  • Why should you have a glass of Krug at Vij’s?
About Vikram Vij and Sean Nelson

Vikram Vij was born in India in 1964 and lived in New Delhi and Bombay until the age of 20, when he went to study, live and work in Austria. While he was there he received his chef certificate from the Salzburg Hotel Management School. Vikram moved to Canada in 1989 to work at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta.

Vikram became a certified sommelier from the International Sommelier Guild in 2000, and is passionate about pairing wines with his cuisine.

Vikram is a serial restauranteur, author and television personality and he has appeared on hit shows such as Chopped, Top Chef, and Dragons’ Den. He’s also the first Indian chef to earn a sommelier degree.

Sean was born in White Rock, BC and grew up in Greater Vancouver. He entered the Hospitality industry at age 16 and after becoming certified and spending time in wine regions around the world, in 2013, upon returning to Vancouver he took the job of Sommelier at Vij’s Restaurant.

While at Vij’s, Sean passed his Advanced Sommelier Examination on the first attempt to become Western Canada's youngest Advanced Sommelier in 2016.

Vij’s Restaurant has been awarded back to back Platinum Awards at the Vancouver Wine Festival Wine List Awards of Excellence in 2016 and 2017 and in 2017 was named one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Top 10 Wine Restaurants in Canada.


To learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode, visit the

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