Red Wine with Mexican Food

I am finding that I enjoy young cote rotie with tacos, in this case specifically, hard shell tacos with onions, beef, tomatoes, shredded cheddar (which I recognize is a very Americanized version of Mexican food, maybe I should change the subject to ‘tex mex’). Ideally the wine would have less tannin, good acidity and have olive notes to the wine. Perhaps this is because I can see olives going into Mexican food, as well as acidity. I find that young fruit can hold up to the bold flavors of the food (that I associate with Mexican), without losing any complexity in the wine that may have come up with age. And tannins can be managed with the cheese. I think cote rotie over southern rhone wines because I find the cote rotie wines to be more savory, and with those complementary olive notes.

Anyone else go for this pairing? Or prefer a different red pairing with Mexican or Tex Mex?

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I like Zinfandel and zin-centric blends with our Tex-mex (fajitas, enchiladas, etc.). With Mexican fish dishes, hard to go wrong with sparkling white, although I do love pairing rosé with shrimp dishes. I haven’t tried cote rotie, and it does sound like a good pairing!


If I must pair wine with Mexican food, I prefer sparkling. And if it must be red, I’m with Bryce and tend to think Zin. I could see how Syrah would work as well and imagine certain Southern Rhone blends could work decently well also. The problem with these pairings imo is they stand up to the food because they are full bodied with a lot of fruit and therefore are not overpowered by the spice in the food. However, the combination of heaver food with heaver wine in this scenario is just too heavy for me. There’s a reason Mexican beer works with the food – it’s light, it’s not complicated, it’s got great acidity.

A little outside the box, but what about Beaujolais? It’s red, simple, and many are made with semi-carbonic maceration giving a strong fruity flavor that I think could hang with Mexican food without having too much body.

All that said, I’d much rather just have a Pacifico w/ lime… they say there’s a wine pairing for every food, but sometimes I say “Why bother?”

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Zin and Zin blends for meat dominant dishes like Carne Asada
Kabinett or Spätlese with spicier dishes
Sauvignon Blanc with Mexican seafood dishes
Cava a good old U.S. sparkling from Gruet are good choices with everything
And a big, buttery California Chardonnay with those amazing sour cream chicken enchiladas


I’d try sparkling wine. There are some sparking reds from Australia, but a blanc de noirs would also go well with beef-based dishes.

I drink red wine with Chinese food, so clearly I’m not the one to be asking lol. [cheers.gif]

A softer merlot with pyrazine notes can be really nice with Mexican and TexMex, as it echoes the bell pepper notes and jalapenos.

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White sangria all the way

Tend to go with a Riesling Kabinett or Feinherb with most Mexican food (either authentic or Americanized)- preferably one from red slate since it will mirror the pepper and spice flavors.

Otherwise, a beer with higher acidity, lowish malt, and moderate alcohol should work well. No imperial IPAs, stouts, or porters - at least IMHO.

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I prefer Rose with my Mexican food

Rose or very fruity red wine without much complexity.

Of course cerveza is much better.

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Sandlands carignane and zinfandel are my go-tos at home with basically any mexican food.

I find a Australian Grenache, or an inexpensive Spanish Garnacha works. I would also think a less serious Frappato would work (since they are now getting higher end), but never tried it.

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ive done really well with Mouvedre with Mexican food (mole, heavier tomato sauces), and then beer for tex mex.

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Curious if Cru Beajolais would be an option here. Haven’t tried this pairing myself, but wondering.

Good shout. If not so spicy I reckon that would be good. (I don’t eat so much spicy but I do drink a fair amount of Bojo with mild Mex/tex-mex)

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Beaujolais is really good with certain, more authentic dishes. I have had good success with Beaujolais and tacos al pastor, as well as puerco en pipian. When things get more standard I go mostly with Zin blends.

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Pineau d’Aunis or rosé

Not that long ago I served a variety of soft tacos (beef, lamb, shrimp, pork, veggie) at a 2012 CdP tasting I hosted. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say they were a complimentary pairing in the sense of food highlighting the wine or vice versa, there was certainly zero clash, the pairing worked well, and everyone seemed to greatly enjoy chowing down on the tacos. The tacos had little to no heat (i.e., chile) otherwise I don’t think it would have worked as well.

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Gotta go Mexican all the way. La Carrodilla Canto de Luna from Valle de Guadalupe, MX. Equal blend of Tempranillo, CS, and Syrah.

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