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Wine and Mexican Food Pairings

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By Amelia Ceja

We love Mexican cuisine and the dishes can vary from savory, sweet to spicy depending on the region in Mexico.

For rich recipes with white sauces, cheese and creamy corn accents, choose a dry, semi-dry or slightly sweet white wine.

For dishes with a red sauce, a smoky chipotle sauce, or similar flavor, choose red wines with low to moderate alcohol content regardless of whether the main component of the dish is red meat or fish. It's best to stick to wines with low alcohol content for spicy foods as higher alcohol wines will intensify the spiciness of the food.

Ultimately, the right wine for your meal will be the one that pleases your palate. Here's a list of our favorites.

Ceviche, Oysters with Tomatillo Salsa

Sauvignon Blanc, Sparkling Wine           

Chilaquiles, Huevos Rancheros, Menudo

• Ceja Vino de Casa Red Blend


Syrah, Malbec

Dishes with Chipotle Peppers

Zinfandel, Syrah

Dishes with Fruits, such as Mango

Riesling, Late Harvest Wine, Moscato 

Almond Infused Flan, Blue Cheese, Foie Gras

Ceja Dulce Beso Late Harvest Wine, Moscato

Spicy Chicken Soup, Scallops with Salsa Chimichurri, Dungeness Crab Enchiladas

Chardonnay, Sparkling Wine, Riesling 

Carnitas, Mushroom Quesadillas, Lamb Birria, Duck Tacos, Salmon Ceviche, Pozole, Tamales

Pinot Noir

Grilled Steak Tacos, Black Bean Chili, Legume Dishes, Tamales, Filet Mignon with Savory Glaze

Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon   

Dishes with Jalapeño Peppers

Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Sparkling Wine

amelia ceja head shot PicmonkeyAmelia Ceja  




Editor’s note:  Author Amelia Ceja is a native of Las Flores in the Mexican state of Jalisco. She is President of the Napa and Sonoma-based Ceja Wines. She’s also a gifted cook and has shared the following recipe with us:










Black Bean & Butternut Squash Chili

Serves 8

This thick, satisfying chili is a year-round favorite around our house. Incorporating a native American flair with beans and squash, this tasty and spicy recipe can also be made vegetarian by substituting the chicken stock with vegetable stock. Don't forget to pair this dish with a bottle of Ceja Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon!



•             6 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed

•             4 cups butternut squash, cubed

•             4 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced

•             4 cups baby spinach, prewashed

•             1 yellow onion, diced

•             1 large carrot, finely diced

•             1 large celery sprig, finely diced

•             4 cups diced canned tomatoes

•             1 fresh jalapeño pepper, fire roasted

•             4 cups chicken stock

•             1 pasilla pepper, deveined, deseeded and soaked in warm water

•             1 guajillo peppers, deveined, deseeded and soaked in warm water

•             6 garlic cloves, minced

•             10 whole peppercorns

•             4 cloves

•             4 tbsps tablespoons olive oil, divided

•             1/4 cup cabernet sauvignon

•             salt and pepper

•             corn tortillas (optional)



Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, stir in the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the butternut squash and cook until the vegetables just start to become tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Using tongs, place the jalapeño pepper on top of a burner over high heat. Turn until all sides are charred. In a stock pot, place 4 cups of chicken stock, the pasilla and guajillo peppers and bring to a simmer, cook for five minutes. If a gas stove is not available, cook the jalapeño pepper with the pasilla and guajillo peppers and remove the jalapeño pepper once done and set aside.

Place the whole peppercorns, cloves, cooked pasilla and guajillo peppers with the stock in a blender or food processor and process until smooth, add to pot with vegetables. Cut the charred jalapeño pepper in quarters (or use the cooked jalapeño) and place in blender or food processor with the four cups of diced canned tomatoes and coarsely blend, about 5 seconds. Add to pot and stir. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the 6 cups of cooked black beans and spinach to pot, stir and bring back to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Add ¼ cup Cabernet Sauvignon, taste and adjust the salt. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve on a bowl with warm corn tortillas and garnish with the toppings.

Toppings (optional)

Diced Avocado

Crumbled queso fresco

Cilantro, minced

Fresh lime juice

This recipe can be prepared vegan by substituting vegetable stock for the chicken stock and omitting the queso fresco as a topping – it’s just as delicious!








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