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Pairing Wine With Nachos

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Author Seema Pal 10-12-2022

Nachos is a dish that makes a great appetizer or a fun main course. It is such a crowd pleaser with its versatility of chip type and topping choice. Despite its pub food reputation, nachos boasts of complexity of textures and flavors, which make wine and food pairings quite diverse and interesting. A wine that pairs well with nachos will elevate the dish to make it worthy of a fantastic dining experience! 

Best Red Wine With Nachos

Red wines can pair well with nachos when we look at its flavor profile. Whether the nachos have seasoned ground beef or steak, chicken, fish or meatless, it is best to choose a wine that is not overpowered by the boldness of the toppings. Since most nacho dishes have cheese as a topping, a red wine that is bold with fruity notes with palate-cleansing acidity would complement the dish well. In addition, the tannin component of a red wine will be well balanced with the richness of the cheese and meat topping. 

Here are some great red wines ideas to pair with nachos:

  • Rioja Crianza
  • Argentinian Malbec
  • Chilean Carménere
  • Dry Lambrusco
  • Loire Valley Cabernet Franc

Best White Wine With Nachos

There is a variety of white wines that would complement the spicy, smokey and cheesy flavors of nachos. Like red wines, ideally the white wines should have a high intensity and acid level to balance the richness of the nachos dish. A particularly spicy dish would pair beautifully with an off-dry white wine to temper the heat. A wine with oak aging would highlight the spiciness of the nachos, as well as having the complexity to balance the variety of flavors that nachos offers. Also, a sparkling wine from South Africa would have the bold fruit notes from its relatively warmer climate and the bubbles will lighten the dish and add to the fun that nachos already bring! 

These white wines will surely elevate your dining experience with your nacho dish:

  • Rias Baixas Blanco
  • South African sparkling
  • Clare Valley Riesling
  • Napa or Sonoma Chardonnay
  • Rioja Crianza Blanco 

Wine With Different Types Of Nachos

Best Wine With Beef Nachos

Beef’s naturally fatty and boldness along with the addition of additional spices (such as cumin, paprika, chili powder, onion and garlic powder) for nachos would call for a bolder red wine. A great choice of bolder reds would be Rioja Crianza or Argentinian Malbec. Crianza wines are always oak aged, and most Argentinian Malbecs are oak aged, which would balance with the intensity of beef and the wide variety of flavors of the entire dish. The bolder notes of fruit of these wines would also pair well with the strong flavors of the meat, cheese and other toppings and the tannins would bind to the proteins well for a smooth mouthfeel on the palate. 

Best Wine With Chicken Nachos

Nachos that have chicken as a topping are usually spiced with bolder seasonings but still typically on the milder side. This would call for wines that would not overpower the dish. Try it with a Chardonnay that is from Napa or Sonoma, which are usually oaked to complement the smoky and spicy notes of the meat and often have the creaminess to balance the creamy texture of the cheese toppings. Additionally, these wines are known for their full body and bold flavor intensities, which would pair well with the intensity of a nachos dish. 

Best Wine With Fish Nachos

Like chicken, fish has a naturally mild flavor as well but also a salty component that could be delicious with a well paired wine. A white wine from Rias Baixas in Spain is a wine from the Loire Valley in France. It is known for refreshingly high acidity and saline notes since the region is so close to the ocean. The saline notes will match the brininess of the fish, olives, pickled jalapenos, and salty chips. Additionally, the high acid levels of this wine will cleanse the palate of the richness of the cheese. This unique wallet-friendly wine will be sure to impress!

Best Wine With Vegetarian Nachos

This is the time to find a wine that will pair well with all the diverse vegetable and cheese toppings. A Chilean Carménere will be an excellent choice as this wine has bold fruit flavors to match the intense flavors of the toppings and is famous for its pyrazine notes which is reminiscent of jalapeno or green pepper. This wine’s flavor profile will make the veggie components of this dish stand out, such as cilantro or parsley, and jalapeno. These wines are also known for being fuller bodied and full of flavor, making a great pairing for the bolder flavors of nachos. These wines are also often oak aged, and these spicy notes also pair well with the spices in this dish, especially if smoked cheese is used. 

Best Wine To Drink With Nachos

With such a wide variety of options to use, the great thing about wine pairings is that it opens up so many choices to try together. Something that all nacho dishes have in common is that they are bold and rich, and that have higher acidity levels will lighten the dish, and ones with bold fruit notes will complement it well. Oak aging will also highlight the spicy notes of the meat and veggies, and the complexity of the wines will stand up well to the complexity of the dish. These wines below would be delicious with nachos:

  • Rias Baixas
  • Californian Chardonnay
  • Chilean Carménere
  • Rioja Crianza – red and white
  • Any dry sparkling white

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