If you’re looking for the best wine to pair with Mexican food, search no further! In this blog post, we will discuss the best wines to enjoy with your favorite, traditional Mexican dishes. We’ll talk about flavors to look for when pairing wine with Mexican food and give you tips on how to choose the best wine for Mexican food!
What Kind of Wine Pairs Well with Mexican Food?
When it comes to finding the best wine to pair with Mexican food, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, the type of Mexican food you’re eating will play a big role in what kind of wine you should choose. For example, if you’re eating a light dish like ceviche or tacos, you’ll want to opt for a lighter wine, like Sauvignon Blanc. Alternatively, if you’re enjoying a heartier dish, like enchiladas or carne asada, you’ll want to choose a red wine, like Tempranillo or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Similar to other cuisines, it’s important to consider the common ingredients used in traditional Mexican dishes and how they pair with wine. Here are some examples:
- Chili peppers – Since they provide quite a kick of spice, choose a lower alcohol wine to keep burn levels at a minimum. Think: Rosé, Tempranillo, or medium-bodied reds.
- Tomatoes, garlic, & onion – While these foods aren’t inherently spicy, the garlic and onion can have a little tanginess. Similar to spicy foods, opt for wines that are medium to full-bodied, like Sangiovese, Tempranillo
- Beans – Beans typically lack spice and tanginess, so pairing a higher alcohol, or even spicy wine, is ideal, such as Tempranillo or Garnacha.
- Cilantro – Cilantro has a very distinct flavor. Verdejo, or other light-bodied, vegetal-whites create a beautiful pairing.
- Corn – Corn is a somewhat neutral ingredient, so I recommend deferring to the other, more prominent ingredients in the dish.
Considering the ingredients used in your Mexican dishes is the key to perfectly pairing the right wine.
The Best Wine for Mexican Food
When paired well, wine is a delicious accompaniment to Mexican food. Use this cheat sheet for your next Mexican meal!
Best Wine to Pair with Fajitas
You can never go wrong with fajitas. They are a classic Mexican staple! Fajitas can be prepared with a variety of meat and seafood, like chicken, beef, and shrimp. And, you can’t forget about the delicious fixings, like grilled onion and bell peppers, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream. When choosing the best wine pairing, consider the most prominent flavor, which is likely the meat and seafood. For chicken or beef fajitas, opt for a bolder red, such as a Zinfandel. For seafood fajitas, choose a lighter red, like a Pinot Noir.
Wine Pairing with Ground Beef Tacos
As with any other red meat dish, ground beef tacos call for a richer, bolder wine, such as Malbec or Zinfandel. However, it’s also important to consider how the beef tacos are served. When served with plenty of cilantro and cheese, you might opt for a lighter red or white wine.
Wine to Pair with Tamales
Tamales are an extremely traditional, yet versatile Mexican dish. You can prepare tamales with a variety of fillings, such as chicken, beef, beans, and/or cheese. A Pinot Noir would make a wonderful flavor pairing with most tamale variations.
Ceviche Wine Pairing
Ceviche is prepared by soaking raw, white fish in citrus juices and plenty of spices. This acidic and spicy combination brings quite the flavor. When considering a wine, opt for a light and refreshing white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.
Guacamole Wine Pairing
We all know guacamole is the real star of the show. It’s the perfect fixing for every kind of Mexican dish: fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, and even chips. Regardless of how you enjoy it, the onion, garlic, lime, and spice in guacamole pairs wonderfully with a light, somewhat sweet white, like Riesling or maybe even a Rosé.
Cheese Quesadilla Wine Pairing
Cheese quesadillas are a basic dish that can be elevated in so many ways! You can use a variety of cheeses and toppings, such as onions, cilantro, salsa, and more. In general, a lighter Tempranillo or Garnacha is your best bet.
Best Wine with Chips & Salsa
There’s nothing like enjoying a fresh basket of warm tortilla chips and housemade salsa. It’s the perfect snack or appetizer! When snacking on chips and salsa before your meal, pair a glass of light-bodied red, like Sangiovese or Chianti.
What Wine Pairs with Mole
Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce made with dried chili peppers. It has a heavy, smoky, and sometimes spicy flavor. Traditionally, mole sauce is served with a variety of meat dishes or enchiladas. A bolder red wine, such as Zinfandel or Malbec, pairs well with a mole dish.
Bonus: Cinco de Mayo Wine
In honor of today’s national holiday, it’s only appropriate to talk about the best wine for Cinco de Mayo. First, consider your Cinco de Mayo menu. What foods will you be enjoying? If you’re opting for lighter dishes with seafood and cilantro, select a light white wine. For heavier dishes with meat, cheese, and beans, opt for a medium to heavy red, like Zinfandel or Sangiovese.
Next time you’re enjoying a delicious Mexican meal, skip the margaritas and try pairing your food with an appropriate wine. After all, wine makes a great pairing for Mexican food!