9 Simple Cinco de Mayo Wine Options You Should Try
Looking for something other than a margarita? We have some great wine choices for your holiday celebration.
Why do we celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the United States anyways?
Cinco de Mayo in the United States can be traced back to 1863, when California Latino immigrants demonstrated unified pride in their heritage. It is often considered a celebration of Mexican-American culture.
To be clear - Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day. Mexico celebrates their independence from Spain on el Día de la Independencia, on September 16th.
Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican victory in the Battle of Puebla (1862) against Napoleon III and his well-equipped French forces. The French invasion, spurred by the desire to collect debts owed, was slowed but not thwarted by this battle.
What wine should I get for Cinco de Mayo?
As a celebration of Mexican-American culture and pride, you should be looking for wine that pairs with Mexican food.
The food options can include tacos, fajitas, corn tamales, chicken enchiladas, quesadillas, green or red chili, chimichangas, spicy Mexican rice, carne asada, guacamole, baked beans. The list goes on.
One thing you may notice - these foods contain more spice than a typical American meal. They often have lighter meats such as chicken.
A chilled white wine or rosé is going to be your best bet to pair with an entire platter, but you can find some reds in the mix from places such as Spain, especially for heavier meat dishes.
Tacos, fajitas, and enchiladas pair well with:
1) Unoaked California Chardonnay for chicken and lean meats with less spice – or for those who are looking for spicier fare
2) Semi-Dry German Riesling or from Finger Lakes (New York) to offset some of the heat of the spice
3) Gewürztraminer from Austria would also pair with some of the spicier Mexican foods
If you start piling on the meat for dishes like carne asada and barbacoa check out:
4) Spanish Tempranillo to add tannins to balance out the meat
5) Spanish Garnacha for something a little bolder
For lighter meals like salads, stick to high acidity, light bodied, white whites with crisp flavors such as:
6) Albariño from Spain or Portugal
7) Pinot Grigio from Italy
Our overall preference for spanning the entire meal tends to be a versatile:
8) Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé from Chile or Mexico or
9) Some bubbly like a Spanish Cava or Italian Prosecco to finish off the meal & start the evening fiesta!