Most people assume tacos only pair well with beer or margaritas, but that is definitely not the case. A wide range of wine options works well with the tanginess and spiciness in different types of tacos. However, you have to be careful with your selection to ensure they go well together. I usually consider the flavors in the taco when choosing the wine to help me get a perfect balance. I try to make sure one doesn’t overpower the other when considering my taco Tuesday (or wine-down Wednesday) taco and wine pairings.
Check out my top 3 favorite taco and wine pairings below!
Fish tacos usually have tangy sauces, which makes zesty wines with low alcohol content perfect. If it is fresh fish, I like to go with a classic Sauvignon Blanc or Reisling. However, I find that fried fish tacos go better a sparkling one like our Dream Keeper Gold Reserve Sparkling Rose’. The saltiness in dried fish, however, will blend well with a dry wine like Cloud Nine.
Ground beef tacos are very simple, but they are just as tasty as the other sophisticated types. These tacos are also the easiest to make at home. After seasoning the ground beef well, choosing the right wine to accompany it is the next step. Grenache wine is a good choice in this case. This wine has a spicy flavor and medium tannins that go perfectly with the seasoned beef. Beef cut in chunks goes well with red wine, a good example is our Promise Keeper Reserve. Apart from that, Grenache, Malbec, and Temprallino also go perfectly with beef tacos.
Veggie tacos can also be a delicious pairing option for your next Taco Tuesday solo lunch or get-together. Pairing tacos and wine are also possible, even when you have crunchy vegetables. Wines with high acidity levels are always better with such tacos. Petite Verdot is a good choice because of its acidity and peppery taste. If that isn’t available, I always go for Sauvignon Blanc. The wine has a tangy taste and zesty characteristics that blend perfectly with vegetable tacos.
Tips and Guidelines
Pairing tacos and wine require careful consideration of spices, pepper, and sauces used in making the tacos. It’s not about the protein or vegetable in the taco shell. Red wines are perfect for less acidic tacos, especially wines that have more tannins. Gentle tannins are good for spicy proteins. White wines with low acidity are perfect for zesty tacos. I look for any wine that has residual sugar when I want to take on very spicy tacos. Wines that have high tannins often overpower the taste of tacos for me. The same applies to wines with high oak taste. I avoid high alcoholic wines when the tacos are peppery, as well.
Tacos are a great meal choice every day of the week, not just on Taco Tuesday. Regardless of the robust flavors the proteins in tacos have, there is always a befitting wine that will enhance the taste without overpowering the tacos. The above are my favorite choices, but you can choose any other. Other common options are breakfast tacos that I like to pair with chardonnay, al pastor that I like with Rioja or Zinfandel, and chicken tacos that I always pair with Vinho Verde or Pinot Noir.
The basic rules to follow are as follows:
- Sugar tends to go well with heat, but alcohol doesn’t.
- Don’t pair alcoholic wine with a spicy taco even if it has high sugar content.
- Don’t pair zesty wine with spicy tacos as well.
- Wines with high tannins will also enhance the spiciness of a taco and should therefore be avoided.