Cinco de Mayo doesn’t have to be only about margaritas. Wine is a great match for the vibrant spices and dishes from south of the border. You will want to stay away from wines that are fruit forward to find a balance of acidity and earthy notes.
While Mexico is making some wines and receiving some acclaim form the Baja region, it is very difficult to find any of these selections in Pennsylvania. Some of the grapes being grown there include Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Grenache, Nebbiolo and Cabernet Franc.
If the dish you are enjoying for Cinco de Mayo makes you feel the burn, I suggest a lighter Tempranillo and the El Jefe Grande 2014 available locally for $8.99. It is unoaked with notes of berry, cherry, plum and mocha. It's perfect for any spicy dish.
This food contains a lot of ingredients and spices including bitter chocolate. I would suggest a bolder Tempranillo like the Licenciado Rioja Reserva 2008 for $19.99. Wine Spectator gives this wine 91 points. This wine has a deep red ruby color with aromas of wild berries and vanilla. This wine is a beautifully balanced and elegant. It is a great example of a Rioja and a perfect one to try if you haven’t tried the Tempranillo varietal.
South America makes wines that are often bigger and bolder. The Zuccardi Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 for $12.99. Wine advocate gave this wine 89 points. With an intense purple color, this is a balanced red with freshness, good balance and aromas of plums and tobacco. This is a full bodied wine with a long finish.
This is a broad category. So, I will focus on a favorite: Fish tacos. Try the Miraval Cotes de Provence Rose 2014 for $23.99. It is a beautiful light pick color with fresh fruit aromas and refreshing acidity. Aromas exude luscious strawberries and young nectarine coupled with lovely nuances of rose. The finish is light, crisp showcasing stone fruit and red berries
If you like bubbles, I would also try a nice Spanish Cava with this dish. I think it pairs excellent with the flavors of a fish taco.
Carnitas, beef tacos, enchiladas, burritos, fajitas, chimichangas and the list goes on. This is another broad category, but I will concentrate on the pork/beef side of these dishes and pair the Zuccardi Q Malbec for $12.99 is an excellent quality wine for the price. The color is dark violet. It has floral aromas on the nose with rich blackberry, plum and chocolate notes. This Malbec focus is fruit with firm tannins, excellent balance and a velvety finish. Wine Advocate gave this wine 91 points.
While this celebration of the Mexican’s victory over the French is known for margaritas and Mexican beer, take some time and try wines with these fabulously flavorful dishes. Each of the wines mentioned should be available locally, for order, or at your larger Fine Wine and Good Spirits locations.
Las aclamaciones or salud to one and all as you celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Try a little wine with your friends.