Best Wine With Tacos: Our 6 Favorite Combinations

wine with tacos

Quick Answer: Merlot, with its smooth and medium-bodied texture, complements the richness of meats such as steak, carnitas, or barbacoa. While Zinfandel, with its jammy and fruity notes, pairs well with tacos filled with spicy chorizo or grilled chicken. Albariño, a light-bodied and acidic white wine, is an excellent choice for seafood tacos such as shrimp or fish.

Tacos are a popular dish that originated in Mexico and have now spread to many parts of the world. They are typically made with a corn or flour tortilla filled with a variety of ingredients such as meat, fish, vegetables, cheese, and beans.

Many think of beer when it comes to tacos. But wine with tacos can be an unexpectedly delicious and versatile partner. Paired with the right taco selections, you might just find yourself reaching for a bottle of wine instead.

Table of Contents

6 Different Types of Tacos & Wine Pairings

wine with tacos

Carne Asada Tacos

These are tacos made with grilled steak, which are thinly sliced and seasoned with spices such as garlic, chili powder, and cumin. The flavors in the dish can vary depending on the specific recipe. But generally, carne asada tacos are spicy, savory, and rich.

  • Malbec: This medium-bodied red wine with notes of blackberry, plum, and a hint of earthy smokiness pairs well with grilled meats. And it has enough body to stand up to the richness of the steak. While its fruit flavors complement the spicy salsa and other toppings.
  • Zinfandel: Zinfandel has dark fruit flavors of blackberry, raspberry, and cherry, along with notes of pepper. Therefore, it can complement the smoky, spicy, and savory flavors of the steak. And the bright acidity in Zinfandel can complement the tangy and spicy flavors of any salsas or toppings used in the tacos.

Al Pastor Tacos

Al pastor tacos are a delicious and spicy dish made with marinated pork that is cooked on a spit and typically served with onions, cilantro, and pineapple. When it comes to pairing wine with al pastor tacos, it’s important to consider the dish’s bold and spicy flavors.

  • Riesling: A Riesling with a touch of sweetness and good acidity can tame the heat and spiciness of the dish. And the wine’s tropical fruit flavors such as pineapple, mango, and apricot can also complement the dish’s juicy fruit notes and savory meat flavors.
  • Tempranillo: Tempranillo often has a flavor profile of red fruit, leather, and spice. So it  can complement the combination of chili peppers, pineapple, and other spices used to flavor the pork. Also, the wine’s medium body can match the meat’s weight. While the wine’s acidity can help cut through any fatty or greasy flavors in the tacos.

Carnitas Tacos

One of my favorite tacos! Carnitas are made with slow-cooked pork that is typically seasoned with garlic, cumin, and chili powder. The meat is juicy and tender, and the dish is often served with toppings like cilantro, onions, and lime wedges.

  • Merlot: A flavor profile of black cherry, plum, and dark chocolate, which can complement the savory and slightly sweet flavors of the pork. And the soft and velvety texture of Merlot can complement the tender and juicy texture of the pork
  • Grenache: Grenache often has notes of red fruits, as well as spice notes like black pepper, which can complement the savory and slightly sweet flavors of the pork. Also, the moderate tannins in the wine can help accentuate the richness of the pork.

Fish/Shrimp Tacos

Fish tacos are a popular Mexican dish that typically features grilled or fried white fish, cabbage slaw, and a tangy sauce such as salsa or crema. The delicate and fresh flavors of the fish call for a wine that is equally light and refreshing.

  • Pinot Grigio: Pinot Grigio is a light-bodied white wine with crisp acidity and flavors of green apple, lemon, and pear. Its bright acidity and white fruit flavors can enhance the flavors of the fish and slaw in the tacos.
  • Rosé: A dry Rosé is often a good choice for fish tacos, as they have a crisp acidity that can complement the flavors of the fish and any citrus or vinegar used in the taco toppings.
  • Albariño: Albariño is known as the best wine for seafood! It has aromas of white flowers and clean flavors of stone fruits, citrus, melons, salt, and a distinct minerality. And these clean fresh flavors can match up well with the flavors of the fish and the tangy sauces.

Chicken Tacos

Chicken tacos are a popular Mexican dish that can be prepared in a variety of ways, from grilled to shredded and seasoned with different spices and herbs. The dish’s versatility means that it can pair well with different types of wines depending on the seasoning and preparation.

  • Chardonnay: A medium-bodied Chardonnay often has a creamy, buttery flavor profile that complements the flavors in the tacos, especially if they are topped with sour cream or a creamy sauce. Look for a wine that is not too heavily oaked, so as not to overwhelm the chicken’s delicate flavors.
  • Pinot Noir: A light-bodied Pinot Noir has a fruity, earthy flavor profile with hints of red berries, cherries, and mushrooms. This flavor profile can complement the flavors of the chicken and any spices used in the taco seasoning. The earthiness of the wine can also complement the smoky flavors of grilled chicken.

Barbacoa Tacos

Barbacoa tacos are a traditional Mexican dish that features slow-cooked, tender beef that is seasoned with a variety of spices and herbs. The dish’s bold flavors and richness make it a perfect pairing with a full-bodied red wine.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Firstly, the richness and intensity of Barbacoa Tacos, with its slow-cooked and savory beef, can be complemented by the full-bodied and bold flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon. And its flavors of blackberry, cassis, and black cherry, can complement the complex flavors of the Barbacoa. Finally, the wine’s oakiness can also complement the smoky and spicy flavors of the beef
  • Zinfandel: The spicy notes in Zinfandel can pair well with the smoky and spicy flavors of the Barbacoa. And the wine’s peppery and earthy notes can also complement the flavors of the taco seasoning, particularly if it includes cumin, chili powder, and other spices.


In conclusion, pairing wine with tacos can be a delicious and fun way to elevate your taco experience.

Whether you’re enjoying carne asada or fish tacos, there’s a wine out there that will complement the flavors of your dish. So next time you’re enjoying tacos, consider reaching for a glass of wine instead of a beer. You may be surprised at how well the two pair together.

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