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The One with the Wine and Taco Experiment

Hi, Corkers!

If you're new around here...welcome! I am just your average Jane who happens to love wine and I've dedicated my time in quarantine to learning all about it. I started this blog to not only document my own wine journey, but to recruit other winos to join in with me. Over the last two months, I've learned a lot through experimentation and exploration.

Sunday was National Taco Day, so naturally, my husband Jazzy and I celebrated with gusto. We ordered five very different tacos from Lagos Tacos, and conjured up a line-up of 10 very different wines. The goal? To learn how to pair the spices, herbs, and meats in food with the flavor profiles in different wines.

Now, I know the average person would probably just refer to google for the answers, but first of all, you can't always trust what you read on the world-wide-web, and second of all, I would much rather have a first-hand account of experimenting with different food and wine pairings than to take the word of someone else (no matter how qualified they may be!) I've always been more of a hands-on learner and I've actually found that my personal preference does not always align with my findings online and...there's nothing wrong with that! Everyone has a different palate and everyone will experience food and wine differently from the next. That's part of the magic of it!

That being said, I will share with you the combinations I enjoyed most to save you the hassle of eating tacos for three days straight and spending an undisclosed amount of money to procure said wines and tacos. I still encourage you to try different pairings on your own and to let me know your findings in the comments!



We got all five taco variations from Lagos Tacos, a taco-slinging establishment in Minnesota specializing in creative ingredient mash-ups and unique flavor combinations. We selected these five for different reasons: some are popular taco varietals which make them relatable to the average Corker, some have ingredients that are commonly used (even if not commonly used in tacos) which makes them relevant, and some just sounded damn delicious! Here are the menu items we ultimately chose to experiment with:

-Sesame Chicken: rice-battered chicken with sweet chili hoisin sauce, napa cabbage slaw, sesame seeds, avocado, and queso fresco

-Southern Fried Chicken: buttermilk fried chicken, sliced apples, bourbon cherries, bleu cheese crumbles, lettuce, and house-made jalapeno ranch

-Beef and Potato: spiced ground beef and potatoes, co-jack cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream, avocado, queso fresco

-Al Pastor: marinated pork, grilled pineapple, onion, salsa verde, avocado, queso fresco

-Coconut Shrimp: coconut crusted shrimp, sweet chili sauce, avocado, black bean mango relish, queso fresco

All of the tacos were AMAZING! We ordered them all on corn tortilla (with the exception of the fried chicken, which was on flour).


Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava - Spain

The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc - New Zealand

Picpoul Blanc, French Connection Wines- Texas, USA

Paradise Peak Sweet Riesling, Washington, USA

Muga Rose, Rioja, Spain

Berberana Cava Rose Brut- Spain

Artero Tempranillo - Spain

Domaine Brusset red Rhone Valley blend - France

Mascota Vineyards Malbec - Argentina

Mirassou Cabernet Sauvignon - California, USA


-Sesame Chicken with Paradise Peak Riesling

Why it works: The sesame chicken was covered in a delicious, sweet chili sauce, so it needed a wine that could hold up to its sweetness level. The wine also featured notes of Thai basil, ginger, and citrus zest which played on the flavors in the hoisin and slaw.

-Southern Fried Chicken with Cava

Why it works: I've mentioned this in my blog before, but there is just something special that happens when cava meets fried food. The tiny bubbles and the crisp acidity are the perfect complement to the fatty, salty flavors in the fried chicken. Plus, the green apple notes in the Cava brought forward the apple in the tacos for an all-around mouth watering experience.

-Beef and Potato with Malbec

Why it works: Ok, I'll admit, I specifically bought a bottle of Tempranillo to pair with these tacos because I thought it would be a match made in heaven. Spicy beef with a spicy Spanish red....what could go wrong?! What I learned with this pairing experience is you have to consider the boldness in the beef. In this case, the Tempranillo was too young and not bold enough to hold up against the flavorful beef. That being said, these tacos actually paired better with the Argentinian Malbec, which was a bolder, bigger bodied wine. The notes of red pepper and smoke in the wine played nicely against the spicy beef. Overall, I think if we had chosen an aged Tempranillo, we may have been happier with this pairing. Lesson learned!

-Al Pastor with Rose

The pork and pineapple tacos paired perfectly with the Spanish Rosado from Rioja (made with Garnacha, Viura, and Tempranillo.) The exotic fruit notes of peach, pineapple, and kiwi balanced perfectly with the pineapple sweetness in the tacos. Plus, the chili peppers in the meat were cooled down by the chill of the wine. A homerun in my book!

-Coconut Shrimp with Sauvignon Blanc

Why it works: The coconut really gave the shrimp a delicious, tropical vibe, which when paired with a passion-fruit forward Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand created a Pina Colada/vacation in my mouth. The crisp acidity in the wine was a welcome balance against the battered shrimp. Really tasty!

So, while this "field research" took a week to complete and compile, I certainly learned from it and hope you gained some little nuggets of information as well!

Thanks to Lagos Tacos for the delicious food for this experiment. Drop a comment here and let me know your favorite taco/wine pairing!

Cheers, Corkers...until next time-

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