There are very few dishes that I can think of that are simple, flavourful, easy to prepare, and highly addictive, all at the same time. Once you start eating one, the second one is not far behind. In case you haven't guessed it, I am talking about delicious tortillas filled with goodness: tacos!
The types of tacos you can make are endless, especially when you let your creative side take over. Regardless of which type of tacos you go for, they all have a few key things in common: fresh ingredients and powerful flavours. Cumin, chili powder, paprika, cilantro, onions, salsa, hot sauce, jalapeno peppers, and adobo seasoning are all possible options to spice them up.
At a recent tasting with Susana Balbo of Dominio del Plata (an Argentinian winery), Susana was telling me that while she was visiting friends in Mexico, they did numerous experiments to find out which wine went best with tacos (and other Mexican food). The winner? She said it was Torrontés, by far. A white grape grown in Argentina, Torrontés is known for its powerful floral scent and vibrant acidity.
So, why is Torrontés such a brilliant match? First, it has pungent flavours, which are able to withstand the array of spice you can find in tacos. Second, it is fairly high in acidity and is thirst-quenching, which gives you a nice palate cleanser between bites. It’s easy to understand why it is a good alternative to a margarita or to a crisp Mexican beer.
Torrontés is not the only grape you can seek. Many others fit the profile. Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, dry Muscat, Verdicchio, and Vinho Verde would make a short but good list. From My Wine Canada try Le Vieux Pin Petit Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Gris) 2014 or the Tawse Riesling 2013.
And if you want red? Seek lighter wines that are fruit driven and have supple tannins. Serving them slightly chilled will keep your palate fresh. Gamay, Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Dolcetto, Barbera, and Valpolicella work well. The 13th Street Sandstone Old Vines Gamay Noir is a treat or go for the juicy and fruit driven 2012 Tantalus Pinot Noir.
Whether you choose red or white, remember to pick wines that are slightly lower in alcohol (12.5% or less) - especially if you like your tacos to be spicy. If a wine is too high in alcohol your mouth will be burning.
Haven’t made tacos before? Here is a link, which will give you plenty of ideas. And if you don’t feel like cooking and you happen to be in Montreal, stop by Restaurant Mais on Saint-Laurent Street in the Plateau. The food is delicious and well priced! On the west coast, Tacofino is a must. They have multiple locations, including food carts. Salud!
Michelle Bouffard is a wine educator and journalist who splits her time between Montréal & Vancouver. She co-owns the Vancouver-based company ‘house wine’ and is the president of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. She Tweets @michellebwine and Instagrams @michellebouffard.