I’m guessing that the first taco I ever ate came from Taco Bell. Which would make perfect sense, since that chain is credited with introducing the taco to people across North America beginning in the early 1960s.
Americans embraced the easy-to-eat and relatively cheap item enthusiastically. We now eat 4.5 billion tacos per year, a disproportionate number of them on the third day of each week. (Where will you be dining next Taco Tuesday?)
True, many people continue to eat at Taco Bell outlets, along with other chains such as Del Taco. But more and more of us are getting our taco fix at food trucks and even gourmet restaurants, experiencing ingredients far different from those that were utilized to make the fast-food tacos of my childhood.
Some of today’s tacos are quite spicy, which makes pairing them with wine something of a challenge. But many are not. As with all dishes, when it comes to wine pairing, we pair with the dominant flavor of the dish… which, when it comes to tacos, will not be the shell or tortilla.
I recently had a shrimp and bacon taco in a corn tortilla, expertly prepared by a food truck operator. I took it home and enjoyed it with a glass of Sem-Chard from Australia — a delicious, refreshing melding of Semillon and Chardonnay.
From that same truck came a carne asada taco on a flour tortilla, and it paired perfectly with a glass of Malbec from Argentina.
Here are a few other taco-and-wine pairing ideas…
* Chicken Tacos with Bell Peppers — Sauvignon Blanc.
* Shredded Beef Tacos — Merlot or a red blend.
* Braised Pork Tacos — Chardonnay or Gruner Veltliner.
* Beef-and-Bean Tacos with Salsa — Zinfandel.
* Lamb Tacos — Cabernet Sauvignon.
* Skirt Steak Tacos — Syrah.
* Baja-Style Fish Tacos — Dry Riesling.
* Spicy Tacos — Semi-Sweet Riesling or Gewurztraminer, or a dry Rosé.
Your first inclination may be to reach for a cold cerveza to accompany your favorite “Mexican sandwich.” But as you can see, there are many types of wine that pair quite nicely.
So, stop by your favorite food truck or Mexican restaurant, or pick up some tortillas and get creative with ingredients you have in the refrigerator or pantry. Then enjoy those tacos with a good glass of wine.