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Wine & Taco Pairings

Margaritas and light beer may be the standard for taco pairings-- but they don't always have to be! In the broad world of wine (and tacos), the opportunities for creating mouthwatering food and wine marriages are endless. Believe it or not, the variety of tangy, spicy flavors found in tacos can actually come more alive alongside a glass of wine, as opposed to served beside a sub-par frozen machine beverage. However, there are a few solid dos and donts when pairing vino with your favorite Mexican dish; follow our tips and recommendations below for the easiest (and classiest!) #TacoTuesday yet!


Pairing wine and tacos goes far beyond the simple protein between the shell; take note of spices, sauces, and heat factor when choosing the perfect bottle for your meal.

Wines high in tannins and/or oak will fight for palate space within your mouth, attempting to overpower the strong flavors of the tacos. Avoid wines high in either of the two components.

On that note, leave the high-alcohol wines behind, too-- especially if your tacos pack a punch. Heat and high alcohol don't mix well, though heat and sugar do. For spicy seasonings, look to a wine with a touch of residual sugar to balance out the heat.

Veggie Tacos - Gruner Veltliner

Who says finding a wine pairing for veggies has to be difficult? For crunchy greens, slaw, and everything in between, we love a the high acid, peppery notes of a Gruner Veltliner. The wine's tangy, lemon-lime characteristics pair gorgeously with zesty dressings, too. Can't find a Gruner? Sauvignon Blanc works great here, as well!

Fish Tacos (fresh) - Albarino

More likely than not, your fresh fish tacos are going to come dressed in a tart and tasty sauce; for this, Albarino from northwestern Spain is your perfect match. The grape's lightning-like acidity will be able to stand up to even the zestiest of sauces. For a lower-alcohol, slightly spritzy (and super inexpensive) option, check out the wines of Vinho Verdes.

Fish Tacos (fried) - Txakoli (or Sparkling!)

Head further east from Albarino's northwestern corner to Spain's Basque country and you'll find yourself in the land of Txakoli; don't be intimidated by the wine's crazy name, pronounced chah-koh-lee. High acid, low alcohol, and slight effervescence make these wines perfect for the salty batter coating your favorite fish. And if you feel like going hard or going home, Champagne and all things fried are always a match made in heaven.

Tacos Al Pastor - Zinfandel or New World Pinot Noir

Spicy, seasoned grilled pork screams for a fruit-forward red to accompany the meat's robust flavors, yet one with enough acidity to cut through the tacos' richness. For tacos al pastor, we love juicy, medium-full bodied reds from California, specifically Zinfandel or Pinot Noir. Zinfandel's signature spice and juicy mouthfeel create a lush, succulent pairing for the pork, while the acidity of a New World Pinot will give the pairing a lighter, more 'on its feet' feel.

Carne Asada Tacos - Malbec

We can't get enough of carne asada; tender steak marinated in a delicious bath of garlic, herbs, and spice, then grilled to perfection… the ideal filling for any taco night! With these grilled, thin sliced steaks, you'll feel immediately transported to sunny Argentina-- so why not pair the tacos with a rich Malbec from Mendoza? They say what grows together goes together, and in this case, we couldn't agree more. Malbec's rich, fruit-forward palate and robust tannins pair gorgeously with the fat and spice of grilled steak. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it…

Ground Beef Tacos - Grenache/Garnacha

Ah, the good old American twist on Mexico's most famous dish. More likely than not, your first ever taco experience probably consisted of some seasoned ground beef wedged between a thin, hard shell, topped with some grated cheese and a few sprigs of lettuce. As much as we love more 'sophisticated' takes on the taco, sometimes we yearn for those nostalgic at-home taco kits. For nights that call for a walk down memory lane, grab a Grenache (Garnacha, in Spain) based blend. The blend's spicy, dark fruit flavors and medium tannins are a perfect match for seasoned ground beef. Look for a bottle of Cotes du Rhone (or Priorat, if you want to stick to Spain) and get the party started!