Wednesday, May 18, 2011

PAIRING WINE WITH MEXICAN FOOD


food and wine pairing

Pairing wine with certain kinds of food can be a difficult matter for some diners.  There are certain cuisines which, for my palate, are generally better suited for beer than wine.  Indian food calls for a light lager; for Mexican food, give me a Negro Modelo.  

Wine Enthusiast ran a brief interview with Chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo in which he spoke about pairing wine with Mexican food.

Lugo's Restaurante Nicos in Mexico City features an all-Mexican wine list, with the exception of one French wine - and that one is produced by a Mexican winemaker.

The magazine calls his efforts nothing short of heroic in a nation where even the locals look askance at Mexican wines.

Lugo says he doesn't think the pairing process for wine and Mexican food is too different from other cuisines.  He likes a barrel-aged Chardonnay with cheese and cream, Syrah with dried chili sauces and Barbera with mushroom quesadillas.  He does admit, though, that pairing wine with Mexican food is still rather a novelty, due to the tradition of pairing that country's food with beer.

One of Chef Lugo's favorite pairings is a mole Poblano or Oaxacan black mole with sparkling wine.  He says the Ensenada favorite, Lobster Puerto Nuevo - in which the crustacean is fried - is perfect for Chardonnay.

As far as tequila goes - the chef likes it before or after, not with, a meal.

Lugo is a fan of Mexican artisanal beers, but he feels the custom of drinking beer with Mexican food is more a matter of price and marketing efforts than preferential choice.