|1. Neboa||2. Lago||3. Le French Frog|
Who says that you cannot drink wine with Mexican food? Wine can pair with sweet, salty, and spicy elements in a menu. It can balance acids, fats, and bitterness in food and pucker up the taste buds ahead of dinner then make them mellow afterward. In short, wine can be a match made in heaven with every cuisine under the sun if you know what food flavors and characteristics to look out for and work with.
Does this mean wine can even go with those rolled or folded hand-sized corn and wheat flatbreads stuffed with a rainbow of delicious fillings? Hell, yeah! Read on for the low down on what wine goes with tacos.
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The Joy of Tacos
Like so much of the best grub around the world, tacos were a staple food among the working classes – the Mexican working classes in this case. The taco came into being in Mexico from the 18th century through the 20th when it followed Mexican workers as they emigrated to America to work on infrastructure projects.
Since then, the taco has gone through several incarnations as it has adapted to the palates of the nations where its nutritious, filling, and tasty self has spread. Today you can find tacos filled with fish, light meats, dark meats, veggies, and an array of salads and sauces.
If you love wine and you love tacos, you are about to learn about your next favorite pairing.
Wine and Food Pairing 101
How to pair wine and food is one of those topics about which the more you know the less you know. But there are fundamental principles that act as good guides on flavor and texture pairings and once you know the rules you can stretch them and be creative.
However, the following serves as a good rule of thumb when pairing wine with savory food:
Spicy foods go well with sweet and off-dry wines while salty, savory cuisine matches with acidic whites. Rich, red meats pair well with highly tannic reds while lighter red meats go with red wines with medium tannins. Wherever there are loads of tomatoes, break out the acidic red wine and go for a fruity red if a tangy sauce is on the menu. Get it? Got it? Good. Now for the best wine with tacos.
Wine & Taco Pairing Guide 2021
1. Fish Tacos
What flavor characteristics come to mind when you think of a fish taco? This kind of filling is all about light, fresh flavors. Maybe there is a little lemon juice in there and chances are the fish filling is accompanied with a crisp, green salad. A wine that goes like a dream with a fish taco is a good Albariño. This white from Spain’s northwest Rias Baixas region is light and dry so goes well with the fish and greens but has a tricky habit of giving the impression it has sweet notes as well. This makes the perfect balance to any spicy salsa or jalapenos that have made it into the mix.
A beautiful match for your fish tacos is Eidosela Neboa Albariño. Its floral citrus nose sweeps out to a bright, dry, fruity palate speckled with salinity. It is a lovely summer wine for a lovely beach lunch.
2. Chicken Tacos
When it comes to taco, chicken is delicious spiced up with cumin, garlic, and chilies plus a healthy dollop of salsa and some crunchy salad. To pair or not to pair, that is the question. The answer is “for sure” and a lovely white Vinho Verde from Portugal is just the thing. Lago Vibrant and Aromatic Vinho Verde is very aromatic, bursting with summer fruits and florals. It is gently tart which is great for the savory flavors in your chicken tacos and has that refreshing slightly spritzy mouthfeel plus a small glimmer of sweetness that goes well with all the spicy toppings.
3. Carnitas Tacos
The ingredients make this taco a guaranteed crowd-pleaser on the patio or around the pool. The combination of rich seared and shredded pork shoulder and grated cheese is heaven for a taco aficionado – but what wine to drink with it? This is a meaty taco with a good dash of fat. A sprinkle of cheese and maybe a sour cream topping add creamy hints. Pork straddles white and red meat so it makes sense that it can go with red or white wine. A fruity red like a Pinot Noir or a white Rhône blend would each pair equally well with carnitas tacos. These types and styles have enough fresh acidity to counter the fat and just the right amount of body to stand toe-to-toe with pork. Try Le French Frog Pinot Noir. It is silky, light-bodied, and fruity with mild tannins plus has enough earthiness to balance a carnitas taco. Pinot Noir is a gentle red so will not drown out any coleslaw or pickled chile toppings. Wellington Vineyards White Rhone Blend acts in much the same way even though it is a different color. This warm-climate white is dripping melon and stone fruit notes with a whisper of honeysuckle to round it off nicely. Its blend of Marsanne and Roussanne grapes give it the body and velvet, creamy mouthfeel to complement the sour cream and cool the spice.
4. Beef Tacos
Now we are hitting the beef and whether it is a simple ground beef filling or one with spicy, smoked meat, you have to dive in and go for a tannic red. This will balance the bold flavors of beef tacos and enhance an array of toppings.
A great choice for this type of taco is a Spanish Rioja. Those labeled Crianza and Reserva are the best as they have the tannins, body, and oak to bring out the taco flavors but not so way out that they will mask all those delicious ingredients. The cherry favors, fruity acids, and tannins go hand-in-hand with the beef fat and melted cheese and frame salad mixes, spicy toppings or smoky notes to perfection.
A good choice is Bodegas Amaren Tempranillo Reserva. With its red fruit, savory notes, and smoky tobacco hints, it will go down like a dream with a flavorful beef taco.
With their wide range of ingredients, it is a treat to find the best wine with tacos. Taco recipes are almost endless just like all the styles of wine in the world. Enjoy exploring what kind of vino matches with this down-to-earth, delicious fare.