Break the Rules: Wine with Mexican Food
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.
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|MEXICAN DISHES||RECOMMENDED WINE|
Tortillas with Toppings
|Dry Rosé, Lambrusco, Spanish Garnacha, Cannonau from Sardegna|
Stuffed Masa Dough Dishes
|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|
|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|
|Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Carménère from Chile, or something else that’s big and earthy|
|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|
|Sparkling Brut Rosé, especially Crémant d’Alsace for its fruity notes|
a red chili seasoned chicken broth-based soup with pork and corn hominy, and topped with avocado, cabbage, and lime
|White Port & Tonic Cocktail|
Mexican Cured Meats
|Choose an earthy bold red such as Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nero d’Avola, Sangiovese, Gran Reserva Rioja|
Arroz con Pollo
|Cava, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, white Vihno Verde or other very dry, high-acidity white wine|
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|MEXICAN SAUCES||RECOMMENDED WINE|
a Yucatan spiced seasoning paste made with annatto seeds, garlic, orange juice, coriander, cumin, allspice, and cloves
a sauce or roasting marinade made with guajillo chilies, garlic, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and cumin
|Moscato d’Asti, Prosecco, Crémant|
a fruity-spicy roasted tomato and habanero sauce with onion and garlic
|Moscato d’Asti, Prosecco|
a red chili and tomato sauce for roasting
|Chile Sauce (green)||Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner|
|Chili Sauce (red)||German Riesling|
a salsa made with avocado, lime, jalapeño, onion, and garlic
|Verdejo, Dry Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc|
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|
cooked tomatoes and serrano green chili sauce used for huevos rancheros
|Cabernet Franc, Gamay or Carménère, a red wine with herbaceous flavors|
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.