Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
What wine(s) would you recommend serving with good Mexican food?
—Vince P., Dublin
Good question, because I would never recommend pairing wine with bad Mexican food.
In general, if you’re referring to the spicy Tex-Mex version, I’d point you towards bubbly wines, which I think are a great match with all kinds of foods, and rosés, which are also extremely versatile food wines.
More specifically, my advice is to focus your wine pairing on the most dominant flavor or sauce in the dish. For example, if there’s a lot of lime, cilantro, jalapeño or tomatillos in the Mexican food you’re eating, look to Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño or Pinot Gris/Grigios to complement those flavors. If smoky, earthy chipotle, achiote or pasilla chilies or grilled meats are dominating the flavors, look at Malbecs, Tempranillos or red Rhône wines. Or, if your version of Mexican food is something very cheesy and heavy, Zinfandel, Sangiovese or Barberas might be a good place to start.
Also, to make a better pairing, try to go easy on the hot sauce, which can jar with most wines.