What Wine Would You Pair with Nachos?



Wine with nachos, you ask?! Which is exactly what I did for the first time only recently.

Since a few years ago, we got into a habit of serving home made nachos once in a while. It often appears on Friday evenings, when leftovers are nowhere to be found and energy for cooking after a long week is lacking.

It is most often a meatless version, with a heavy dose of vegetables: green pepper (preferred here to other colours), ripe avocado, tomato salsa (sometimes also home made when tomatoes are in season), jalapenos, green onions, topped with shredded cheese and silky sour cream, on a bed of crunchy tortilla chips. Occasionally, there are more or less successful forays into the exotic with shitake mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and tuna. And, always served with beer.

Always, until the other day, when a Cava showed up on the table. Well, it didn’t just show up. I chose it as a wine to try with nachos. And it worked.

You may be familiar with the sparkling wine of Spain, produced in the ‘traditional method’, meaning like Champagne, though from different types of grapes and at a fraction of the cost and subsequently price. It is a delicious, economical version of Champagne.

Like Champagne, Cava comes in a range of perceived sweetness. Even in its dry (least sweet) brut version, it has a variety of aromas and tastes, which include citrus and apple, combined with mineral, and bready, toasty (from light to burnt) notes. It also has ample acidity, and being a sparkling wine, it has bubbles.

And acidity and bubbles are very important. Acidity, because it can cut through the richness of melted cheese, and bubbles, because they tingle your tongue, which pleasantly pairs with the texture of the nacho chips themselves.

The Feixenet Negro Brut Cava worked beautifully. Its fine mousse dissipated fairly quickly but the remaining effervescence matched the chips’ crunch. The citrus and some apple aromas translated onto the palette, with the citrus dominating for the happy union with the food. The creamy mouthfeel was a great match for avocado and sour cream. The grapefruity taste lingered on the finish.  Just the right level of toasty matched even those chips slightly burnt at the edges.

So, if you want to make your own nachos night into a celebration – and why not – try them with this Cava.



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