With the pandemic still in full swing after what feels like years, many of us are looking for new ways to enjoy life and keep it interesting. The same is true for what we eat. Though some people have fully embraced the at-home chef life, others are bored with their options. No matter what group you fall into, today we are offering you an opportunity to try something new: wine and Mexican food pairing. 

Usually, Mexican food is paired with a margarita or Mexican beer, but in Mexico, you will find that many of the top restaurants have extensive wine lists. So exchange the limes and salt for a bottle opener and a wine glass and see how wine pairs with some of your favorite dishes from El Charrito in Salinas. 

3 Rules for Wine Pairing

Pairing wine with your Mexican dish can be simplified down to three basic rules. These basic rules can give you a beginner’s knowledge as well as the ground rules for choosing a winning combination. 

Rule One: Spices 

The first thing you should consider is how spicy the food is. Generally speaking, the spicier the food, the sweeter and colder the wine should be. Also, lower alcohol content wines and wines with lower tannins help to diminish the burning sensation of food with a spicy vengeance. 

Rule Two: Protein Color (White = White)

You should also consider the color of the main protein in the dish. If the meat is white, a white wine is best, and in the same way, red wines are best paired with red meats. For vegetarian dishes, it’s important to follow this rule about spice as well as the next rule: herb color. 

Rule Three: Herb Color

The herbs in the dish should also be considered when choosing the perfect wine to pair with your favorite Mexican dish. If your dish includes a lot of green herbs, it is suggested that you should choose a wine with a higher acidity and more herbaceous flavor. What’s more, if your dish is also spicy, a wine that is also fruit-forward is best: a Sauvignon Blanc can be a wonderful choice. 

Pro Tip: Not all wines are created equal! Remember that not all wine types taste the same. For example, a Sauvignon Blanc from Washington may taste differently from a wine from New Zealand, and even wines from the same area but different vineyards will have different flavors. Do your research when looking for the perfect wine to pair with your food, but also trust your own personal taste or experiment to find the wine that you love to pair with your favorite  authentic Mexican dishes. You could even try a wine paired with each course — be sure to drink responsibly. 

Basic Tips

If you are unfamiliar with wines, tannins, and flavors, and a red wine tastes like every other red to you, never fear! We have some basic tips for picking a wine for your food when you eat at El Charrito: 

  • Tacos, Sopes, Tostadas – Dry Rose, Lambrusco, Spanish, Garnacha, Cannonau from Sardegna
  • Tamales – Cabernet Franc Rose, Tempranillo Rose, Syrah Rose or a chilled Reserva Rioja or Trampranillo from Ribera del Duero
  • Red Meats (Barbacoa, Carne Asada) – Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Douro Reds, Malbec
  • Spicy Meats (Chorizo) – Cava or Cremant
  • Pork (Al Pastor, Carnitas) – Sparkling Brut Rose
  • Mexican Sandwiches (Torta) – Cava
  • Rice Dishes – Cava, Sauvignon Blanc, Albarino, white Vihno Verde

Though we do not serve alcoholic beverages with our meals, we hope you enjoyed learning more about pairing wine with your next meal at our authentic Mexican restaurant in Salinas. We also offer delicious non-alcoholic beverages such as jamaica, horchata, and limon. Remember to always drink responsibly, and order food delivery from El Charrito.