Gastronomical matchmaking, much like people matchmaking, can be hit or miss. Two wonderful singles put together in the same room (music, ambiance…muy romantico), does not guarantee chemistry. The same sad scenario could very well play out in your mouth, when a perfectly delectable morsel meets the wrong drink of choice—and all that’s left is a bad aftertaste.
Be kind to your palate this Cinco de Mayo. Check out these basic pairing rules for Mexican food, plus a few suggestions that will keep you smiling all party long.
JUST SAY NO even if you’re tempted to say “oak-ey dokey” to that favorite oaked chardonnay. Oak will overpower the spices.
SAY YES to wines that are either sweet or crispy. Unless you enjoy a good milk chaser, steer clear of wines with higher alcohol; they only magnify the heat. Sugars will dissolve the burning sensation brought on by the capsicum in peppers.
Rosé is refreshing, bright in acidity and is lower in alcohol—a perfect complement to Mexican cuisine. Try L’Opaline Coteaux du Varois Provence Rosé and 2017 Terra Santa Ile de Beaute Rosé.
Rich foods, like carnitas, made by braising or simmering pork in lard for 3-4 hours, call for wine that cuts some of the fat. Try this fruit forward, Ocaso Sparkling Rosé from Argentina.
UNDERSTAND YOUR HERBS: Green herbaceous food craves wine with equally herbaceous flavor and higher acidity. Love veggie tamales and empanadas? Maybe Chile Rellenos is more your style—a cheese-stuffed green chile, breaded, fried, and served with pickled vegetables. Make any of these dishes pop with Sauvignon Blanc! For starters, it’s incredibly refreshing and the acidity in the wine matches with the acidity in the vegetables! We recommend the 2017 Touraine Sauvignon Les Roches or the 2017 Fisch Sauvignon Blanc!
Cheese lovers, if black bean spinach and pepper jack cheese burritos tickle your fancy, then you’ll want to pair it with the 2015 Casa Silva Sauvignon Gris. For a super creamy Queso Fundido, we suggest the super herbaceous 2016 Odfjell Armador Carmenere. You may also love this 93 point Sangiovese, the 2015 Monrosso Toscana, perfect for not only Queso Fundido, but also great when paired with enchilada sauce.