Impossible food-wine pairings: fish tacos!


A couple of nights ago I had one of the storied dishes of Napa Valley. And no, Thomas Keller, I’m talking about the fish tacos at Taylor’s Refresher, a roadside joint in St. Helena!

The horrendously bad cameraphone pic does not to the food justice but it is a piece of grilled mahi mahi, shredded lettuce and a hot sauce that has an arc like a wine, really kicking in on the finish.

Is pairing fish tacos with wine…impossible?!? Hit the comments with your suggestions!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

34 Responses to “Impossible food-wine pairings: fish tacos!”

  1. Gotta love fish tacos! A combination I’ve done before at home that works great: Gewürztraminer

  2. Of course it is possible, but why bother??
    Taylor’s tacos demand a good cold beer, preferably Pacifico.

  3. Taylor’s FTs can go with wine: an Albarino or a Vinho Verde would be smashing with them–actually the latter would be perfect.

  4. I am with PINOTVY. My introduction to fish tacos came last summer at Brutocao Cellar’s restaurant in Hopland, and everyone at the bar was drinking the sudsy stuff.

  5. Simple, Sauv Blanc!

  6. Albarino from Galicia makes the most sense to me. It tends to pair perfectly with with all sorts of white and shell fish.

  7. So first of all, I hate it when wine and food is mismatched. Its because of that that I have an amazing book to recommend. The book, well audiobook is called The Freeway Guide to wine appreciation. The Wine Appreciation Freeway Guide made eating out much more interesting and relaxing. I had always been really embarrassed about going to restaurants and looking stupid because I didn’t know much about wine. I would always order the same glass, never wanting to order something new out of fear that I would look ridiculous ordering a wine that wasn’t fitting. However, I learned so much from the audio-guide that it helped so much. I think you can get it at

  8. Oh man, what a great question.
    I’d be gloriously happy with Taylor’s tacos and a racy lime Verdejo, a spritzy Vinho Verdo or Txacoli, or an absolutely dry Rosé (from nearly anywhere, and Mexico makes some good Garnacha versions).
    I just came back from eating the world’s best chicarones tacos by the way. If they had a juicy Nero d’Avola or unoaked Garnacha, I would have been down. Gotta love tacos and wine.

  9. Love Taylors, done fish tacos there a bunch of times and I love em’ with Sav Blanc.

  10. A lovely, acidic, citrus-y Vermentino!!!! and lots of extra hot souce por favor!

  11. NZ SB! Bring on the acidity!

  12. How timely. I was just about to go down and look for a wine to go with my fish tacos tonight.

  13. I think this is the easiest “impossible food/wine pairing” yet. In addition to all the good possibilities mentioned, I’ll also throw in a good Chard, a Sancerre, and a Torrontes.

    You’re going to have to try harder next time!

  14. Gruner veltliner!

  15. Again, another pairing where sparkling wine may provide an answer. I’d go with a nice rose cava, or a Burgundian Cremant, preferably one with a dosage on the drier side; sweet wine would get in the way of the mahi mahi.

    For still wine, a good rose from Anjou, perhaps? There’s something in pink wine that makes me want to pair it with spicy Mexican food.

  16. Well, if you INSIST on wine with your tacos, I would vote with the pink crowd, a nice Chinon Rose or the like. But still say beer is better, especially out at one of the picnic tables behind Taylor’s.

  17. The Gewurztraminer, we all had up at Stony Hill today, woulda been a killer match…

  18. Drink local – Trefethen Riesling

  19. Only ice cold Corona with lime and salt!

  20. Another voice of reason. Ellie is close, but the preferred libation is ice cold Pacifico, with a wedge of lime n one cleaned shrimp stuffed in the neck, dusted with salt n the hottest sauce available. the technique requires decades to perfect, but worth the effort. ..

  21. I am a huge fan of fish tacos. I make them on the grill frequently in the summer and I usually just have margaritas with them, but when I want wine it’s no problem at all to match: Veramonte Chardonnay.

    In fact when I wrote about Veramonte Chardonnay on my site, I contemplated including my fish taco recipe.

  22. I vote for a crisp Sav Blanc one with a lot of citrus flavor. Something from Chile. I would also agree with the Vermentino suggestion and the Gruner.

  23. Joel Gott Sav Blanc I have it on good authority he made this wine for those tacos!

  24. I’d also definitely go with Sauv-Blanc, although I guess Sauvignon-Sémillon would be even nicer but a little bit overdoing it for a plate of fish tacos.

  25. Ugh, I am so pissed I didn’t get to eat there when I was in Napa last week! We drove by at all the wrong times – mostly when we were either full or late. I’d drink any wine with those delicious looking tacos!

  26. I second the Albariño. Being Mexican American, my wife and I have tried many whites to pair with good Mexican Food. Sav Blanc doesn’tt hold up. They get lost in the salsa. I tried a Vionta 2005 Albarino and Condes de Albarei 2006 both of which went well the fish and salsa combination.

    I must admit, Negra Modelo goes best, and for Gods sake Tecate is THE only Mexican beer which should be drunk with a lime and salt. I’m tired of the Corona PR campaign of a Traditional Tecate recipe from years back. It drives me nuts 🙂

  27. For those that want to break out of the classic white wine with fish I’ve found that Highlands 2002 Zin pairs well with spicy fish dishes. If I remember the story correctly the Zin was made with Burgundian yeast and is much lighter on the palate than the BIG Zins, yet has wonderful spicy nose and palate that holds well with spiced fish dishes. The last time I checked you could still get it at their website.

  28. Fish Taco? Mmmmmm. I’d go Torrontes.

  29. Terredora Di Paolo’ Fiano Di Avellino would be my recommendation. The fruit and honey notes with the dry zesty finish will balance and complement perfectly the heat of the salsa, and the lightness of the fish.

  30. […] I went to the location in the Ferry Building—and thought how I’d like to try it with the fish tacos.) The 2006 White Riesling was up next and is, according to Peter, “bone-dry.” It has a big […]

  31. I would pair this with Martinsancho Verdejo from Rueda, Spain. Maybe I’ll try it out tonight…

  32. I’m with Casal garcia vinho verde or a torrontes from argentina

  33. When in doubt, always choose bubbles.

  34. late to the party. found this discussion on a google search. i think it’s ridiculous to say that beer is the best pair for fish tacos.

    Hands down, Torrontes is the wine for fish tacos. A crisp, clean style (think Festivo Torrontes), not the fleshy, sweeter, export-focused styles (Crios).

    Lime and spearmint notes from the wine matches the cilantro, crispness cuts through the creamy sauce, off-dry character balances the spiciness, body and weight perfectly in balance.


Wine Maps

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

See my op-eds in the NYT
"Drink Outside the Box"
"Red, White, and Green"


Monthly Archives


Blog posts via email



Wine industry jobs


One of the “fresh voices taking wine journalism in new and important directions.” -World of Fine Wine

“His reporting over the past six months has had seismic consequences, which is a hell of an accomplishment for a blog.”

"News of such activities, reported last month on a wine blog called Dr. Vino, have captivated wine enthusiasts and triggered a fierce online debate…" The Wall Street Journal

"...well-written, well-researched, calm and, dare we use the word, sober." -Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher, WSJ

jbf07James Beard Foundation awards

Saveur, best drinks blog, finalist 2012.

Winner, Best Wine Blog

One of the "seven best wine blogs." Food & Wine,

One of the three best wine blogs, Fast Company

See more media...


Wine books on Amazon: