Wine for…Tacos!

While there’s nothing wrong with an Ice-Cold Beer, a Tequila or a pitcher of Margarita, we have some good news for wine lovers: Wine pairs very well with tacos, as long as you know how to pick the right one.

While there are many different varieties of tacos to try and to love, you can generally expect tacos to be heavily seasoned and often spicy. They are usually accompanied with various condiments, such as salsa, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, onion, tomatoes, avocado, shredded cheese, limes, chillies, and coriander.

Because of this, you generally want to avoid wines that have a lot of tannins or have been aged in oak. Instead, stick with wines with zippy acidity and – if the tacos are spicy – a touch of sweetness. Slightly sweet, low-alcohol wines are your best friend when enjoying spicy food. Thankfully, white, dry rosé, and light red wines all go well with tacos, so whatever your wine preferences are, you have options.

Spicy Ground Beef Tacos

Offset the heat with an off-dry Riesling, which means this light-bodied wine has a slight sweetness to it, which will help balance the spices while the high acidity will cut through the fattiness of the meat. Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc or Chenin Blanc are also a good choice. For red lovers, you could opt with a lighter-bodied red wine like a Dolcetto, Pinot Noir, Cesane, Grenache or Tempranillo.

Fish Tacos

Often made with zesty cilantro and a creamy chipotle sauce. A dry, fruit-forward Rosé will stand up to the richness of the dish, while the high acidity will help counter the spiciness. Light zesty white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Spanish Albarino are great choices, or a sparkling Cava or Prosecco.

Prawn Tacos

A citrussy white wine like Arneis, Fiano, Vermentino, Viognier, Verdelho, Grüner Veltliner, is the perfect complement to flavoursome prawn tacos. Although the texture of these wines can be richer than most dry whites, they will not overpower the prawns, while the mouth-filling flavours will bring out the delicate flavours of the prawns. A crisp Rosé wine from Provence France is also a beautiful combination.

Chicken Tacos

Because of the spices, we recommend a lighter style Chardonnay made with little or no oak contact, which highlights the bright nectarine, white peach and citrus characters of the grape. A  Lugana from Sirmione – Garda, White Rioja, Trebbiano or Semillion would also work. For red lovers, choose a light fruity wine like Dolcetto, Pinot Noir, Frappato or Gamay. If the chicken is fried, one of the best pairings ever is Champagne. The acid of the Champagne will complement the oiliness of the chicken.

Pulled Pork Tacos

Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot – from cool climate regions like Loire, Burgundy (France), Oregon, Sonoma (USA), Tasmania (Australia) and Marlborough (New Zealand)  – are  beautiful pairings with pulled pork tacos, as the fruit flavours balance the saltiness of the meat, while the spiciness of the wine highlight the sensation of the chilli.  Avoid red wines from warmer climate as they make a bad pairing with spicy food, as the high alcohol actually intensifies the spiciness of the food.

Taco Lettuce Cups

You can’t go wrong with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a Portuguese Vinho Verde, a Spanish Verdejo, and a Vermentino no matter what your filling is! These flavoursome, dry white wines go beautifully with any greens as the herbaceous and fruit-forward flavours of the wines go beautifully with the crisp lettuce.

The right wine can help bring out the many flavours in your favorite tacos. Remember to chill your wine for maximum enjoyment.


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