This is a resource for pairing wine with Mexican food. Below you’ll find a list that matches several styles of wine with common Mexican dishes, Tex-Mex foods, and traditional Mexican spices.
It may seem unbelievable, but Mexico has a long history with wine. In fact, the oldest known winery in North America is located in Coahuila, Mexico. It was established in 1597!
Why is Mexico more famous for beer and tequila?
Fermented agave and mezcal were already commonly used for religious purposes by the time the Spanish started distilling Tequila in the 1700s. The ubiquitous margarita (developed after prohibition ended in the 1930s) made tequila popular to the masses. As far as beer is concerned; it’s popular because it’s readily available. German influence brought lager (beer) to Mexico and it’s produced using mostly rice, an affordable staple grain.
Wine Renaissance in Mexico: Today there are many top Mexican restaurants that have large wine lists. So what are the best types of wine to drink with Mexican food? Let’s find out.
Wine with Mexican Food
Three Wine Food Pairing Trade Secrets
#1 The Rule of Spice The general rule is that the spicier the food, the colder and sweeter the wine should be. Also, lower alcohol wines and moderate tannins dissolve the burning sensation of capsicum. #2 White Meat = White Wine Most of the time you can match the color of the wine with the color of the meat. Red meat? Red wine. White meat? White wine. Check out our guides on Pairing Wine with Fish and Pairing Wine with Chicken for more details. #3 Herb Color Foods with a lot of green herbs tend to beg for wines with higher acidity and more herbaceous flavors. Sauvignon Blanc is a great example of an herbaceous wine with higher acidity. Because of the spice in most Mexican dishes, we suggest a more fruit-forward Sauvignon Blanc, such as New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
|MEXICAN DISHES||RECOMMENDED WINE|
Tortillas with Toppings
Tacos small hand-sized soft corn tortillas topped with meat, chopped onion, cabbage, radish, lime, and cilantro Chalupas similar to tacos, but with small crispy corn tortillas Sopes a thick soft corn tortilla topped with seasoned meat and mexican cheese, and sometimes pickled vegetables or lettuce Tostadas literally translates to toasted and perhaps was derived from crisping day-old masa tortillas.
|Dry Rosé, Lambrusco, Spanish Garnacha, Cannonau from Sardegna|
Stuffed Masa Dough Dishes
Tamales a corn dough stuffed with meats, cheeses and/or vegetables, wrapped in corn husks and steamed/boiled Gorditas a small masa cake that’s prepared and stuffed with cheese, meat and/or vegetables Enchiladas a corn tortilla rolled around cheese, meat or vegetables and covered in a red sauce
|Cabernet Franc Rosé, Tempranillo Rosé, Syrah Rosé – If the dish is not too spicy, try a slightly chilled Reserva Rioja or Tempranillo from the Ribera del Duero|
Empanadas a wheat, corn, or yuca pastry stuffed with cheeses and vegetables Chile Rellenos a cheese-stuffed green chile that’s breaded with masa, fried, and served with pickled vegetables and sometimes topped with chile sauce
|New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Spanish Verdejo, Torrontes, Albariño, Grüner Veltliner, or Garnacha Rosé The spice level can be moderated with a more fruity-tasting or sweet wine|
Queso Fundido Quesadillas
|Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Carménère from Chile, or something else that’s big and earthy|
Barbacoa Mexican spices, barbecued meats (often with beef) Carne Asada grilled, charred Mexican spices beef
|Cabernet Franc, Carménère, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Douro Reds, Malbec|
Chorizo a guajillo and arbol chili seasoned ground fatty pork meat (vegan alternatives exist)
|Go for sparkling wines, such as Cava or Crémant – Think of it like a Jarritos Mexican soda|
Al Pastor spit-grilled meat that is seasoned with chilies and slow roasted with onion and pineapple (which makes the meat tender) and often made with carnitas (pork) or cabrito (goat) Carnitas Mexican spices in braised and shredded pork
|Sparkling Brut Rosé, especially Crémant d’Alsace for its fruity notes|
|Pozole a red chili seasoned chicken broth-based soup with pork and corn hominy, and topped with avocado, cabbage, and lime||White Port & Tonic Cocktail|
Torta a Mexican sandwich Pambazo a Mexican white bread made with eggs and lard that’s dipped in red gaujillo sauce and stuffed with potatoes and chorizo
Mexican Cured Meats
Cecina a marinated, dried, and thinly sliced meat made with pork or beef – similar to proscuitto
|Choose an earthy bold red such as Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nero d’Avola, Sangiovese, Gran Reserva Rioja|
Arroz con Pollo a long-grain rice dish made in a similar style to Paella but with achiote (annatto seed) oil, and sofrito made with cilantro, onion, garlic, red peppers, sweet pepper, red bell pepper, tomato, pickled capers, and olives Arroz con Camarones similar to Arroz con Pollo, but with shrimp
|Cava, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, white Vihno Verde or other very dry, high-acidity white wine|
|MEXICAN SAUCES||RECOMMENDED WINE|
|Achiote Paste a Yucatan spiced seasoning paste made with annatto seeds, garlic, orange juice, coriander, cumin, allspice, and cloves||Zinfandel|
|Adobo Sauce a sauce or roasting marinade made with guajillo chilies, garlic, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and cumin||Moscato d’Asti, Prosecco, Crémant|
|Chiltomate (Yucatan) a fruity-spicy roasted tomato and habanero sauce with onion and garlic||Moscato d’Asti, Prosecco|
|Enchilada Sauce a red chili and tomato sauce for roasting||Sangiovese|
|Chile Sauce (green)||Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner|
|Chili Sauce (red)||German Riesling|
|Guacamole a salsa made with avocado, lime, jalapeño, onion, and garlic||Verdejo, Dry Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc|
|Molé Sauce a sauce usually made with chocolate, garlic, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, plantains, red chili peppers including ancho, pasilla, mulato, and chipotle||chilled Amontillado Sherry (delicious!)|
|Pico de Gallo fresh and chunky tomato, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro salsa||Albariño, Vihno Verde, Grüner Veltliner, and if all else fails, Pinot Gris|
|Ranchero Sauce cooked tomatoes and serrano green chili sauce used for huevos rancheros||Cabernet Franc, Gamay or Carménère, a red wine with herbaceous flavors|
|Tomatillo Salsa a green salsa made with tomatillos||Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner or Verdejo|
|TEX-MEX DISHES||RECOMMENDED WINE|
|Burritos||Tempranillo, Sangiovese or Montepulciano|
|Chili Con Carne||Cava – one of the world’s best “Champagne” pairings|
|Hardshell Tacos||Rioja Reserva|
Learn More About Mexican Wine
Mexico is quickly becoming known for bold, juicy red wines and zesty sparkling wines.