Culturally, Cinco de Mayo is met, at best, with a ho-hum shrug in Mexico, but here in the U.S., it’s the perfect time to discover the vast wine-pairing potential of our neighbor’s often-complex comfort cuisine. Here are five traditional dishes and the wines to match.
Mole Poblano: The dark-berry fruit, gentle spice and smoky finish of a Zinfandel or Primitivo echoes the prune-like dried chilies and gently charred flavors of this complex, chocolate-chili sauce.
Shrimp Ceviche: A dry (trocken) Mosel Riesling has zippy acidity to stand up to the citrus, and its relatively low alcohol level doesn’t accentuate the spicy heat. Serve it close to ice-cold to further refresh the palate.
Enchiladas Rojas: Not all Mexican chili sauces bring power and heat. This mellow, earthy red sauce will nuzzle up nicely with a silky, fruit-forward California Pinot Noir.
Costillas en Salsa Verde: This classic pork-rib dish calls for a crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, since both the wine and the tomatillo salsa often share a distinct gooseberry note.
Tacos Campechanos: The multilayered flavors of these steak-and-chorizo tacos—earthy and meaty, garnished with onion, cilantro, salsa and lime—call for sheer refreshment, not competition. Best bet: Pop a chilled bottle of your favorite sparkling rosé.