How to Pair Wine with Mexican Food


Mexican food has increased in popularity in recent years and is now amongst the more regular international foods that we eat.  However, people are sometimes uncertain as to which wines to pair with this type of cuisine, particularly due to the spicy flavours that many Mexican dishes feature.  In fact, many people wrongly believe that wine is not a beverage that goes well with Mexican food and favour lagers instead.  This isn’t the case as there are many wines that work well with Mexican cuisine and compliment the spicy flavours on offer. Here is how to pair wines with Mexican food.

Mexican Wines

A natural choice of wine to pair with a Mexican dish would be a Mexican wine.  This makes sense as the producers have a good understanding of the flavours in Mexican food and can combine the two well.  Typical wines 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 complement your favourite Mexican dish well. 

Choosing Spanish and Italian Wines

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 complement seafood dishes or dishes that are strongly flavoured with onions or garlic.  A recommendation can be made here for Chardonnay, Soave or Pinot Grigio as these have crisp and light flavours.

Pairing Wines with Chilli Flavours

Chilli-infused dishes are popular in Mexican cuisine.  A good pairing for these meals is a Zinfandel as this compliments the acidity of the tomato and chili flavours of such dishes.  This wine also works well with cheese-laden dishes such as enchiladas.  Soave is another wine that complements tomato flavors well.

Complementing Spice with Wines

Other spicy Mexican dishes may pair well with an Australian Shiraz as this has spicy and peppery undertones that match the spices offered in the food.  Alternatively, try Cabernet Sauvignon as the fruity flavours in this wine detract from the heavier, spicy flavors of some dishes. Again, which wine you choose is down to personal taste, but it is recommended that the spicier the food, then the sweeter the flavors of the wine should be to counteract the spice and acidity of the food.