We all know and adore Taco Tuesday. It’s that day where our local cantina serves up deals on some amazing Mole Poblano or Tinga de Pollo. Even a basic, quality-made tortilla stuffed with meat, cheese and sauce will often do the trick. In any event, we stuff our face accordingly.
All of that spicy excellence will definitely need a beverage. Instead of a Mexican cerveza or margarita, how about switching it up with some wine? And not just any vino. You’re getting suggestions from someone who has, literally, been voted the best sommelier in America: André Hueston Mack.
André Hueston Mack
Let’s see what Mack has to say on the matter:
Taco Tuesday is one of my favorite nights of the week! Growing up in Texas has made me very fond of Mexican food and my go-to wines have always been from the region of Alsace! Their rich, opulent whites tend to have lower alcohol that defuse spicy flavors and marry well with the diversity of spices found in Mexican cuisine. I like 2014 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht ‘Zind’ which is a blend of Chardonnay and Auxerrois grapes from one of the domaine’s top vineyards, Clos Windsbuhl. Aromatic with great acidity and structure, which bodes well with tacos with just a slight kiss of sweetness to foil spiciness.
Rioja is a very hot region and tends to make very alcoholic wine that can amplify the spiciness found in food. I’m a big fan of contrast so for something like a casual Taco Tuesday I would opt for an lofty old Rioja maybe from the 80’s or 70’s where time has allowed the wine to mature. My favorite is 1975 Bodegas Riojanas ‘Monte Real’ Grand Reserva.
After uncovering some solid taco wines, Mack started waxing poetic about other pairing scenarios as well. Like any superb sommelier, Mack also knows his spirits. So we posed another hypothetical: what would you bring to a friend’s birthday when she’s really into wine, scotch and cigars?
Sounds like my type of woman! It’s her birthday so I would go all out – but not on all three items. I would only select one and drill down. My mother always told me that, when shopping for a birthday gift for someone who has similar interest, buy something that would make you jealous.
So, hands-down I would opt for Scotch. And not just any Scotch… Enter Silvano Samaroli, founder of Italian bottler and importer of Scotch whisky, Samaroli, which are some of the most sought after whiskeys in the world. Although I’m a huge fan of all of his cask strength whiskys, I would select the 1983 Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky for the birthday girl to ensure one of the best birthday experiences ever!
André Hueston Mack is an ardent wine educator who has hosted seminars and lead panel discussions at top industry gatherings across the United States, including Aspen Food & Wine Classic and Newport Mansions Food and Wine Festival.
Mack was the first African-American to be named Best Young Sommelier in America by Chaine des Rotisseurs. He was a sommelier at Thomas Keller’s renowned French Laundry before helping open Chef Keller’s three-Michelin-starred Per Se as head sommelier.
Mack now produces wine in Oregon’s Willamette Valley under his own label, Mouton Noir, sold all over the world.