Al pastor is a pork dish, made kebab-style and marinated in an aromatic chili mixture. There is also the interesting addition of pineapple, placed on top of the pork, which gives it a sweet coating.
With this complexity of flavor, finding a wine that is perfect for pairing with Al Pastor can be challenging. You can lean towards a soft, fruity red, or a crisp white with some tropical notes, depending on how you feel.
Wine Characteristics To Pair With Al Pastor
|Tasting Notes||Red, jammy fruits or tropical and stone fruits. Bright, crisp acidity and spices.|
With Al Pastor, you may want to lean towards a dry wine, but whites with some residual sugar will also be a delicious option. You probably don’t want anything too alcoholic, as al pastor can be a spicy dish. Light or medium-bodied wines are both good great options, so long as they have a flavorful and acidic profile, matching the al pastor marinade.
Best Red Wine To Drink With Al Pastor
To pair red wine with Al Pastor, look out for varietals with an intensely fruit forward profile. This characteristic usually matches well with the succulent, vibrant pork. High acidity is also preferable, to cut through any fattiness – but the level of fattiness totally depends on which cut of meat you get.
Pinot Noir is one of the best red wines to drink with pork. It has grounded, earthy notes, which complement the white meat, and its wide range of subtle red fruits are an ideal match for Al Pastor’s red chili. Pinot Noir is also light-bodied, so it is perfect for sipping alongside Mexican dishes.
The spices of al pastor and the spice in Tempranillo will match each other very well. Tempranillo is a famous match with most Mexican or Spanish food. It is known for being medium to full-bodied, smoky, and fruit-forward, so its profile is a great match for spiced pork.
If you make your Al Pastor not as spicy, then a Zinfandel may be a great choice to complement the pineapple flavors of the dish. The jammy fruit forward notes of the Zinfandel, along with the boldness of the wine will stand up great to this dish and won’t be overpowered. However, be wary that Zinfandel tends to be medium to high in alcohol content, which may make the capsicum heat of the dish seem spicier.
Best White Wine To Drink With Al Pastor
Thanks to the combination of pineapple and pork, al pastor opens the door for a nice range of white wine pairings. Crisp whites will contrast beautifully with the soft, thinly cut pork, and any whites with notes of tropical fruit will complement al pastor’s layer of sweetness. The spicier a dish is, the lighter and more refreshing you want your wine pairing to be, so these off-dry white wines are ideal.
Although it is relatively low in acidity, the soft Gewürztraminer varietal is a great match for al pastor. It has a hint of sweetness, which contrasts the chili marinade wonderfully. Additionally, Gewürztraminer is packed with ripe, exotic fruits, such as pineapple and lychee. Its residual sugar can sometimes make it thick and viscous in the glass, which will be heavenly when combined with juicy pork.
Riesling brings the added benefit of high acidity, so it can easily cut through the fatty parts of pork. It has a reputation for being on the sweet side, which will balance out the spicy flavors of al pastor, but you can also find versions of Riesling that are wonderfully tart and dry. Generally speaking, Riesling enhances a wide variety of food, but it is particularly great with spicy food, including Mexican dishes. Its classic stone fruit flavors will combine well with the pineapple element of al pastor.
Sparkling Brut Rosé
Mexican food is fun and easy to share, so sparkling wine seems like a natural pairing. Dry rosés are ideal. They often contain a percentage of Pinot Noir, along with refreshing, citrus notes – the best of both worlds. Keep an eye out for fruity rosés, which will match Al Pastors’ chili marinade.
Best Wine To Drink With Al Pastor
Al pastor brings a complicated array of flavors, so you want a wine that can match that in terms of fruit. You also want something relatively sweet and light, to balance that classic Mexican spiciness. These are the best options for al pastor:
- Sparkling Brut Rosé
- Pinot Noir