Pairing Wine with Mexican Food

Mexican food has increased in popularity in recent years and is now among the many  cuisines that are eaten across the globe.  However, people can sometimes be uncertain of what wines to pair with Mexican cuisine, particularly due to the spicy flavours that many dishes feature.  In fact, many people wrongly believe that wine is not a beverage that goes well with Mexican food and favor lagers or beers as an accompanying beverage instead.  This isn’t necessarily the case as many wines work well with Mexican cuisine and compliment the spicy flavours that are on offer. 

A natural choice of wine to pair with a Mexican dish would be a Mexican wine.  This makes sense as the producers will have a good understanding of the flavors in both the traditional food of their country and of the wine that they produce and will be able to combine the two well.  Typical wines that are currently produced in Mexico include Merlot, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The best measure of which of these works best with which dish is to try them out and find ones that you think compliment your favourite Mexican dish well. 

It is not necessary to stick with Mexican wines to compliment a Mexican dish as many wines from different nationalities can also compliment this food well.  Spanish and Italian wines can make a particularly good pairing.  Try white wines from these countries to accompany seafood dishes or dishes that are strongly flavoured with onions or garlic.  Particular recommendation can be made here for Chardonnay, Soave or Pinot Grigio as these have crisp and light flavors that compliment, rather than detract from, the flavors of the food.

Chilli con carne and other chilli infused dishes are popular and they are the flavors that come to mind when thinking about Mexican food.  A good pairing for these meals would be a Zinfandel as this compliments the acidity of the tomatoes and the heat from the chilli flavors of such dishes.  Zinfandel also works well with cheese laden dishes such as enchiladas.  An alternative choice for chilli con carne or similar dishes is Soave as this also balances the acidic flavors from the tomatoes. 

Other spicy Mexican dishes may pair well with an Australian Shiraz as this has spicy and peppery undertones that match and work well with the spices offered in the food.  Alternatively, try Cabernet Sauvignon as the fruity flavors in this wine detract from the heavier, spicy flavors of some dishes.

Overall, many wines work well with Mexican food.  Again, which wine you choose is down to personal taste, but it is recommended that the spicier the food, the sweeter the flavors of the wine should be to counteract the spice and acidity of the dish.  However, some people prefer to drink wines that are equally spicy so that the flavors of both the food and the wine match each other.  The choice is entirely yours.