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Pairing Wine and Tacos

Tacos really need no introduction, other than to mention their diversity. They can be served in soft shells, hard shells, with seasoned ground beef or steak, chicken, fish or pork. They can be accompanied by a variety of vegetables from corn, beans, salsa, shredded lettuce or cabbage, peppers, or onions. With so many flavours, pairing wine can be tricky but incredibly delicious.

Beef Tacos

Beef Tacos and Wine Pairing  
With Beef Tacos, the primary flavour you want to match to is the seasoned beef. With this in mind, a food friendly Zinfandel would work really well. Stay far away from Zinfandels if the Tacos are spicy hot.  Zins are somewhat high in alcohol, and tannic, thus the combination of the tacos and zin would burn your mouth.  Instead, reach for a refreshing off dry Riesling.  A Syrah will go well with a lightly seasoned Tacos too. Syrahs tend to have a peppery and spicy quality that will complement the seasoned beef.
If the beef tacos are done in a Carne Asada style (beef marinated with lime) go for a Riesling. Rieslings have a citrus lemon quality to them that will match the lime flavours of the marinated beef.


Chicken Tacos

Chicken Tacos and Wine Pairing
Chicken Taocs tend to be lighter fare than beef tacos, not just due to the use of white meat, but generally people are looking for a healthier alternative when they choose a chicken taco. The chicken will still be spicy, and for this reason we recommend an off dry Riesling, which will combat the spiciness with its semi-sweetness. If there is a lot of cilantro accompanying the chicken taco, the citrus flavours of the Riesling will be the perfect partner in crime. Sparkling wine is another great choice, especially if the tacos are heavy on the onion. If you're looking for something semi-sweet, and bubbly, why not try a Moscato D'Asti.
If the filling in the Chicken Tacos is in a creamy ranch type sauce, reach for a Sauvignon Blanc. The crispness of a Sauvignon Blanc will cut through the sauce and will hold up against the vegetables in the dish.

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos and Wine Pairing Fish Tacos Stands in California are just as popular as Hot Dog stands in New York or Toronto. Fish Tacos focus on the use of fresh ingredients. Lots of tomato, green cabbage, onions, and a light white sauce. With Fish Tacos we recommend sparkling wine with its fresh and bubbly flavours. Rosés are another fabulous choice, as these dry wines are extremely food friendly and will pair well with both the fish and vegetables. Chardonnay is a no brainer. If the white sauce is creamy, choose a buttery, or oaked Chardonnay. If the tacos are citrusy, try an lightly oaked and tropical styled Chardonnay . Finally, red wines might not seem obvious, but a Grenache is an excellent choice if the tacos have lots of tomatoes. Grenaches are light, and delicious with the combination of fish mixed with tomatoes.


Pork Tacos

Hands down, our favourite wine with Pork Tacos is a Pinot Noir, particularily one from California. There's something about the strawberry and black pepper Pinot Noir combined with the slow cooked pork inside a taco. Zinfandel work well, as do Rosés, but in our opinion, a Pork Taco combined with a Pinot Noir is about as good as life can get.

Bean Tacos

Bean Tacos are basically a vegetarian version of beef tacos, and usually contain a lot of seasoning to make the two taste the same. Due to their similarity, the same rules pretty much apply. Zinfandel and Syrah are your number one choice. These spicy reds will hold up against the Taco Seasoning.
Written by: Joel Baxter