Pairing wine with enchiladas is an interesting task. They’re more complicated than you think. Cheese, tortillas, meat, chili sauce, and vegetables all come together. Surprisingly, when it comes to pairing wines with enchiladas, you’ve got many options. But there is one wine to rule them all:
Traditional Sparkling Wine/Champagne.
Dare I say that when it comes to wine with enchiladas, sparkling wine is “the whole enchilada?” (please don’t delete me)
Sparkling wine made in the Méthode Champenoise (the most traditional way of making sparkling wine) is a great bet for any enchiladas. It goes well with Cheddar cheese, chile, eggs, chicken—you name it, if it’s in enchiladas, it goes with sparkling wine. Beef may be the exception, but beef enchiladas will still go well. I suggest Gruet, especially for New Mexican chile enchiladas. If you dont know much about Gruet or Méthode Champenoise, please read my post on New Mexico’s wine heritage, which talks about both these subjects in-depth.
Now, there are other wines that pair well with enchiladas, and I want to cover them.
When I’m talking about sauce, I’m talking about New Mexican chile, which we take as seriously as wine and put on damn near everything. If you have not had New Mexican chile, however, red and green enchilada sauce pairs just fine!
There are a few different types of enchiladas. Therefore, I decided to break it down by the most popular enchiladas and suggested wines.
Beef with Red Chile
Sweet or Off-Dry Red
Any sweet or off dry red really works well with enchiladas. Off dry means a wine that is slightly sweet. The body and flavor of the red wine is not overpowered by the beef and the red chile, and its sweetness counterbalances the chile sauce’s spiciness.
Zinfandel goes great with barbecue, and while red chili is similar in the sense that it is bold prominent sauce in the dish. Furthermore, Zinfandel’s spice notes (cinnamon, nutmeg), as well as its berry fruit flavor, make Zinfandel and red chili enchiladas a fantastic pairing.
Chicken with Green Chile
A fruity New World Sauvignon Blanc (like New Zealand) goes well with green chili since it has somewhat of an herbal flavor. If you don’t know what New World means, read my post on summer white wines to learn.
Chardonnay and cream or cheese is one of the most well-known pairings. If you’re having creamy green chili chicken enchiladas, for example, a fruity New World Chardonnay
Let’s not forget the “old fashioned:” cheese enchiladas with an egg on top!
When it comes to eggs, wine freaks and geeks say eggs are one of the most difficult foods to pair with wines. If you think about it, eggs are thin but creamy, sweet but salty, hearty but delicate. They’re weird and delicious.
I did a little research, and I think Riesling would do well with old fashioned enchiladas. Perfect Pairings says that Riesling goes well with both spicy and egg dishes!
In case you needed another reason to drink champagne wine with enchiladas…
Okay, I already emphasized that Champagne or any traditional-style sparkling wine is a great pairing for enchiladas. I always choose papitas (fried potatoes) as a side with my New Mexican food if the restaurant offers them. It’s not quite as common of an offering as I’d like it to be. Well, if you ever get papitas as a side, champagne is just that much better. Wine Enthusiast says sparkling wine is a good pairing with eggs and potatoes due to champagne’s infamous marriage with anything fried. They say it in a breakfast sense, but if you’re getting enchiladas with an egg and potatoes, you’ve got one of the best pairings ever.