The Tastiest Cinco de Mayo Pairings

Learn how to pair traditional Mexican fare with wine.

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.

Published on April 28, 2015
Topics: Cinco de Mayo, Pairings, Recipes
About the Author
Nils Bernstein
Contributing Editor, Food

A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.

Email: nbernstein@wineenthusiast.net




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