Okay, we know Taco Tuesday is usually accompanied by margaritas, but hear us out. How about wine instead?
Sure, it’s unconventional but we really have yet to find a circumstance when a wine isn’t the right choice. Tequila goes with pretty much every kind of taco which makes it easy, but wine can be a bit trickier so we’re here to help you out.
You want to consider the toppings and sauces, not just the proteins when you’re picking your pairing. Things like raw onions, cilantro, and salsas are big flavors, so they’ll be a big factor in the overall profile of the meal. The protein itself is also very important, as is the seasoning.
Also, pay attention to the level of spice. If you’ve got some fiery salsa verde or other super spicy elements, you want a really cold, sweet wine to provide a bit of relief. A highly acidic, ultra tannic wine is going to pour lighter fluid on that fire, and that’s not fun for anyone. Think a late harvest Riesling or a Gewurztraminer if you’re focusing on the spice aspect. Chill them ahead of time to get even more coolness for that heat.
The easiest thing to pair is the color of the wine to the color of meat. Go with the classic rules here: red wine, red meat; white wine, white meat. So for your super tender barbacoa, carnitas, and al pastor, you want something robust but not overpowering like a Rioja or red Zinfandel. The meats are fatty and sumptuous so your tongue will be craving something sharp to cut through. You’ll note that these two come from Spain and California- regions with similar cuisines and tastes.
Fish tacos or veggie tacos require bold, crisp whites like a steel-aged Chardonnay or even something sparkling like a Spanish Cava especially if it’s a fried fish taco. These tend to have very unique flavors like spicy mayo, pickled toppings, and all of those crunchy, raw vegetables which are complimented by a refreshing white. The bubbles are always a nice touch with anything fried, too.
And finally, carne asada is just meant to be with Tempranillo. The smoky chile flavors in the meat are a perfect pair for the peppery spice in this Spanish red so they’ll create quite a party in your mouth but one won’t take over the other.
Your local hub for Taco Tuesday may not have wine on hand for all of these pairings so it’s a great reason to throw your own dinner party and test them out!
What’s better than great wine and artisanal pizza?
The New York Times described Ridge Monte Bello as “America’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon.”
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