Best Wines for Mexican food

Similar to other cuisines, it is important to look at the common ingredients used in traditional Mexican dishes.

When pairing wine with Mexican food, you should look for something to highlight the different flavors of the dish. Considering the ingredients used in your Mexican dishes is the key to pairing the right wines with perfection. It is simply a matter of choosing the right wine that will complement your dishes perfectly.

In this article, we will explore a variety of wines that are compatible and pair well with Mexican food. We will answer your questions on what is the best pairing for this cuisine.

What are the key flavors?

It is important to realize that wine pairing is based on identifying the strongest flavors or sauces in your dish. Think about the prominent flavors that you are experiencing and use those to try wines that best complement those flavors.

Sweet wines will balance a dish that is spicy and hot, making the dish a lot more enjoyable to eat. Below is a list of wines that will go perfectly with a spicy Mexican dish.

Gamay

Is a light-bodied red wine that is relatively fruity and high in acidity. Fruits such as huckleberry, raspberry, bananas, and floral violets are all notes you may experience in a glass of Gamay. In cooler climates, you may experience fruits such as red currants and sour cherry. Whereas in the warmer climates you may detect raspberry and loganberry. 

However, it does come down to personal preference. Those who enjoy the spicy sensation of a Mexican dish like fajitas, will prefer that it does not balance out as much as those who wish to enjoy a lighter sensation. Fajitas is a great example of a dish that will go well with Gamay. The heat of the peppers will counteract the light, berry tastes you experience from a glass of Gamay.

Similarly, the low tannins in Gamay give off a smooth, less abrasive texture, meaning that a glass of Gamay is perfect for a hot and spicy Mexican dish.

Again, it is all about referring to balancing out the textures and flavors between the dish and the wine.

white wine

Zinfandel, Gewürtztraminer & Riesling

Another red wine that comes under as one of the best wines for Mexican food is zinfandel. Zinfandel is an extremely fruity wine with a modest amount of tannins and low acidity. In a glass of zinfandel, fruits such as blackberry, strawberry, and peach reserves, meaning it will go well with dishes that are high in spice, such as Al Pastor.

The Mexican dish, Al Pastor, is a pork dish that is marinated in chili peppers and pineapple. As a result, there is a spicy sensation that also combines with a sweet sensation.  Try making it for yourself with this highly rated recipe from mylatinatable.com

A glass of Zinfandel is perfect for the Al Pastor dish on a hot Summer day. Its bold flavors are perfect for the grilled pork and pineapple dish, making it a classic pairing when you’re craving something sweet. Zinfandel is a great wine for beginners because it is a medium-bodied wine and not too heavy.

Following on from zinfandel, there are other wines that are great for the Al Pastor dish. As mentioned above, the dish does include pineapple which is a typical combination with pork. Despite the fact zinfandel is great for balancing the chili peppers that are present in the al pastor dish, there are other wines that are better to complement the tangy pineapple taste. For instance, a glass of riesling or Gewurztraminer is perfect to compliment the pineapple taste, and also the fact that the pork contains.

This is because Riesling is a crispy wine, and is also what is called a bright wine. It is also very fruity, with high acidity which is a brilliant combination with the tanginess of the dish. Additionally, riesling is a softer white wine than a lot of white wines, and therefore it can be more appreciated by beginners. You may experience flavors such as line, and green apple in a glass of riesling, with smells such as beeswax and jasmine.

The other great wine that goes well with pineapple in the Al Pastor dish is Gewürztrammer. Similar to the Riesling, it is a fruity white wine, but it is extremely low in acidity and that is how it differentiates itself from the riesling. So if you are looking for a wine that is low in acidity, and at the same time compliment the Al Pastor dish, Gewütztrammer is the best wine for you. You may experience flavors such as Lychee, pink grapefruit, tangerine, and guava in a glass of Gewürtztrammer, with a floral rose smell to it.

chablis

Grüner Veltliner, Chablis & Côtes Catalanes blanc

The best wine for Mexican food varies between red and white wines. One of the best white wines that pair well with Mexican seafood is Grüner Veltliner. Grown and produced predominantly in Austria, followed by other eastern European countries such as Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, this wine compliments a variety of Mexican foods.

The best wines are generally those that are not too dry, so the protein does not overpower the flavor. Grüner Veltliner is excellent for seafood because it is not as dry as other wines and has a relatively modest acidity, creating a smooth sensation with sea foods. It’s primarily known as a lighter-bodied wine, meaning that those who are beginners will fully enjoy a glass of this wine with spicy Mexican foods, and not just Mexican sea foods.

Flavors such as yellow apple, green pear, and green beans will be experienced in a glass of Grüner Veltliner, depending on the climate of course. In cooler climates, you may experience a lime taste or green pear in a glass, unlike in warmer climates, where you may experience yellow apple or peach.

Another white wine that is perfect for meatier sea foods, is Chablis alongside Côte Catalanes Blanc. These wines are brilliant with foods such as swordfish, and even octopus. This Is because they are more savory than wines such as Grüner Veltliner, further complementing protein-heavier dishes such as swordfish and octopus.

Sauvignon blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is another wine that pairs well with dishes such as fish tacos. Typically, lighter wines pair extremely well with savory dishes.

The contradiction between sauvignon blanc and savory dishes such as fish tacos is what makes it such a good pairing. Sauvignon blanc is an extremely fruity wine, consisting of flavors such as gooseberry, green melon, grapefruit, white peach, and passion fruit, obviously depending on where it is produced. Regardless, it is still an extremely fruity wine.

Additionally, the acidity of the wine is important when it comes to fish tacos. The freshness of the meal explodes when it is complemented by an acidic wine such as sauvignon blanc. So it is worth mentioning that acidity is just as important as the fruitiness and the dryness of the wine, to ensure that you can appreciate it as much as possible.

Another dish that pairs well with sauvignon blanc, is ceviche. This dish contains white fish and also consists of a variety of spices. The combination of the acidity of the wine and the spiciness of the dish creates an enjoyable sensation. 

Conclusion

A number of wines pair well with Mexican foods.

Red wines such as Zinfandel work with Mexican dishes that induce the flavors of chili and bell peppers. Dishes like fajitas or Al pastor.

White wines such as Sauvignon blanc, pair well with dishes that consist of fish, such as fish tacos. The combination of acidity and spiciness creates a sensation that is to be appreciated.

Try Grüner Veltliner with dishes that are not as protein-heavy.

Wines such as côte Catalanes blanc and Chablis are both dry wines that complement the meatier, heavier dishes. Think swordfish and octopus.

Two other white wines worth seeking out with Mexican food are Gewürtziminer and Riesling. Both of these white wines offer a strong flavor profile, which makes them an excellent choice for pairing with spicy food. Gewürtziminer has a floral aroma with hints of spice and citrus, while Riesling offers more fruity notes like peach or apricot.

Finally, Gamay is worth a look. A glass of Gamay is perfect for spicy dishes. It is a light red wine that helps balance out the spiciness.

Check out our post on the Best wine for Indian food.