Taco and Wine Pairings!

With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, many of us will be indulging in delicious Mexican food. One of my favorite things to eat on Cinco de Mayo (and pretty much any other day of the year) is a fresh, grilled fish taco.  While a nice IPA is always a great pairing, I really enjoy finding a great wine to pair with tacos as well. Here are a few of my favorite combos:

Ahi and Salmon tacos from my favorite spot, La Sirena Grill
Ahi and Salmon tacos from my favorite spot, La Sirena Grill

Grüner Veltliner with Mahi Mahi and Guacamole Tacos

Grüner and fish tacos generally go perfectly together…especially when guacamole is involved.  The acid in the Grüner cuts the fat in the avocado and brings the Mahi to another level!  I suggest a bottle of 2012 Bernhard Ott “Am Berg” Grüner Veltliner Wagram.   Fresh and crisp with notes of green apple and peach! ($18)

Sparkling Wine with an Ahi Taco topped with Papaya Salsa

One of my favorite taco spots seasonally features a grilled ahi taco topped with fresh papaya salsa.  The salsa is a bit spicy and full of vibrant, tropical flavors.  I think sparkling wine pairs best with this fruit salsa style of taco.  It really complements the fruit without overpowering it.  Try a bottle of Fermi Bohigas Galda Finca Mas Macia Brut Cava.  With notes of stonefruit and pear, this Cava really is a nice match with fruit salsa! ($10)

Cool Climate Syrah and Braised Pork Tacos

Braised pork tacos need a wine that has some depth yet not too big of a personality.  I love pairing cool climate Syrah to bring out the flavors and spice in the braised meat.  Look for something without new oak and low in alcohol so it won’t overpower the pork.  Grab a glass of 2012 Yves Cuilleron “Les Vignes d’à Côté” Syrah.  Good acid with earthy notes of black currents and pepper for under $20! 

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Wine and Cheese Please- Laurenz V. 2009 Charming Grüner Veltliner

Cheese, cheese, cheese…after wine it is my second culinary love. As far as cheese goes, I am a sucker for any type made from goat’s milk (Cypress Grove’s “Truffle Tremor” and goat’s milk brie are my current faves). When it comes to pairing wine with goat cheese, Grüner Veltliner (with its healthy acidity) is a perfect match. Over the weekend, I had a chance to try Laurenz V. Charming Grüner Veltliner with an array of cheeses and I was not disappointed.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Laurenz V. 2009 Charming Grüner Veltliner is 100% Grüner Veltliner from the Kamptal region of Austria.  It has 13% alcohol and retails for around $28.  For more information see www.laurenzfive.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

This Grüner pours a pale gold in the glass.  The nose has abundant aromas of pear and spice.  This is not a timid wine.  Bold flavors of pear, melon, and apple are followed by a spicy, tangy finish.  Notes of lingering ginger and pear tingle your taste buds as you reach for another sip.  Plenty of acidity makes this Grüner very food friendly. 

My Wine Rating- B

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair with goat cheese, sushi, or curried tofu.

*This wine was sent to me as a media sample

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Get Your Grüner On- R&A Pfaffl Haidviertel Grüner Veltliner

Have you ever tried Grüner Veltliner?  If not, you are missing out.  This Austrian wine is so food-friendly, crisp, and generally a great value.  I have been tasting several Grüners over the past few weeks and the most recent bottle I enjoyed is R&A Pfaffl Haidviertel Grüner Veltliner.

About the Wine- From the Winery

R&A Pfaffl Haidviertel Grüner Veltliner is 100% Grüner Veltliner from the Weinviertel region of Austria (Austria’s largest wine growing region).  It has 12% alcohol and retails for around $19.  For more information visit the importer at www.PalmBay.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

This Grüner Veltliner pours a pale, golden-yellow in the glass.  Honeydew, lemon, and floral aromas pleasantly invite you to taste the wine.  Your mouth is met with crisp acidity and tastes of citrus and melon.  The tangy finish lingers and refreshes your palate.  A perfect wine for spring and summer dishes.

My Wine Rating- B+

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pairs perfectly with grilled tilapia, seafood salad, or sushi.

*This wine was sent to me as a media sample

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Wrapping up a Series- White Wine Values for the Holiday Season

I am wrapping up my series on holiday wine values with a few white wines that are readily available and affordably priced.  These wines are bottles that should be easy to pick up in a hurry and pleasing to your holiday crowds.

My first pick is a great Dry Riesling from Cupcake Vineyards.  The 2010 Dry Riesling comes from the Columbia Valley of Washington and has an aromatic nose of sweet peaches and pineapple.  The palate has tastes of lime, orange, and peach with a tangy, dry finish.  A perfect wine to pair with poached pears or a smoked ham and nicely priced at around $13.  (this wine was sent to me as a sample)

My second pick is Bogle 2010 Sauvignon Blanc.  A grassy nose with touches of citrus that follow into a palate of pineapple and pear.  Crisp acidity and a price of around $9 makes this a great holiday find.  Pair with a warm goat cheese dip or pan roasted tuna and puffed fried shrimp (if you do a traditional Italian Christmas “Feast of the Seven Fishes” like my family).

My last white wine pick is a Gruner Veltliner from Biokult.  This wine is a little harder to find but I know you can pick it up at a lot of Whole Foods.  It’s also a nice bottle if you want to introduce your guests to a new varietal.  On the nose there are notes of citrus, grass, and ginger.  The wine tastes of citrus with lively acidity and a hint of white pepper on the finish.  It pairs well with potato latkes at Hanukkah or a Christmas ham and retails for around $12.

Hope you guys enjoyed my holiday picks.  Next up, some recommendations for the wine lovers on your Christmas lists.

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