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Friday, July 1, 2022

Pair wines from Mexico with casual meals on the terrace

Cellar Master Fernando Almazan shares advice on casual foods and some wine labels that may be new to you

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Grilled pizza is a good option for entertaining on the terrace. Photo: Getty

For this time of the year, light and refreshing white and rosé wines, with good acidity, are the best. Look for white wines made from grape varieties whose aromas and flavors are not overshadowed by the low temperatures at which they are served, between 7 and 10 degrees Celsius or 45 to 50 Fahrenheit.

Although whites and rosés will appear more now than in any other season, there is always room for a good red. Make it light for something refreshing or more complex when pairing with food that calls for a more intense wine.

This season’s recommended reds should be medium-bodied and fluid in the mouth, served at 18 Celsius / 65 Fahrenheit. The food factor is essential. You will surely want a red with more body to accompany red meats, cheeses, or pasta.

And since we are in Mexico, why don’t we indulge in a fantastic bottle of Mexican wine?

The Spanish introduced wine production to Mexico in the 16th century, but the great wineries were founded in the 20th. Since then, the Mexican wine industry has developed remarkably, especially in the last decade, representing 6,500 hectares of production and 200 business units that make it possible to choose from more than 1,200 labels.

Pairing food and wine can seem intimidating for the unfamiliar. In reality, learning how is both fun and relatively forgiving, and you don’t have to be an expert to get great results. 

Here are just eight of our favorite Mexican wines and food pairings for the summer, all of which are approachable and worth experimenting with at home.

Emevé Chardonnay (Guadalupe Valley, BC) and grilled shrimp skewers 

Emevé Chardonnay (Guadalupe Valley, BC) & Grilled Shrimp Skewers 

Summer is the perfect time of year to break out the grill, and few proteins match up with fire quite as well as shrimp.

Pionero Cosecha, Chenin Blanc / Chardonnay (Grulla Valley, BC) and summer vegetables

Pionero Cosecha, Chenin Blanc / Chardonnay (Grulla Valley, BC) & Summer Vegetables

A perfect wine to pair with a salad of summer vegetables. Raw, grilled, steamed, or otherwise.

De Cote Inédito, Viognier / Gewurztraminer (Ezequiel Montes, Queretaro) and lobster

De Cote Inédito, Viognier / Gewurztraminer (Ezequiel Montes, Queretaro) & Lobster

Few proteins are quite as luxurious in both texture and flavor as lobster, and there are a number of different ways to approach pairing it with wine.

Casta Pitaya Rosé (Guadalupe Valley, BC) and grilled pizza

Casta Pitaya Rosé (Guadalupe Valley, BC) & Grilled Pizza

One of the best summer options no matter what you’re cooking. Its fresh, flowery nuances make it an excellent wine for pairing with anything rich with tomato sauce, and what better summer dish than a grilled pizza?

Rosé Natural Palafox, Mission (Grulla Valley, BC) and grilled chicken

Rosé Natural Palafox, Mission (Grulla Valley, BC) & Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken is a summer staple if there ever was one, and for good reason—it can be delicious when cooked to perfection. That charred, fatty skin looks for a wine that can adequately provide a counterbalance, which is why many wine experts reach for chilled rosé wines.

Emevé Malbec (Guadalupe Valley, BC) and steak

Emevé Malbec (Guadalupe Valley, BC) & Steak

Summer and steak go hand-in-hand, and finding the perfect beverage pairing can play a huge role in how enjoyable the meal is. There are plenty of wines that pair well with steak, but few are quite as effective as Malbec.

Cavas Valmar Tempranillo (Ensenada, BC) and burgers

Cavas Valmar Tempranillo (Ensenada, BC) & Burgers

Tempranillo is praised by wine lovers the world over for its deep fruit flavors and solid tannic structure. What better characteristics in wine for pairing with burgers?

Casta Syrah (Guadalupe Valley, BC) and grilled tuna

Casta Syrah (Guadalupe Valley, BC) & Grilled Tuna

There is nothing better than the sound of a big tuna steak sizzling on the grill, and a perfect match for it would be this fantastic bold syrah. 

Fernando Almazan is Cellar Master at Sommelier Express in Mérida. Contact him for a wine list or tasting party at sommelierexpress@live.com

A version of this story appears in Issue 4 of Yucatán at Home, our quarterly lifestyle magazine. Subscribe here.

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