May’s #WinePW is focused on food and wine pairings for Cinco de Mayo. Did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? What did you eat and drink? Cinco de Mayo is kinda a big deal in the Lone Star State and as Vinepair explains it’s for a good reason; however, most think Margarita or Corona with Cinco de Mayo. Well Christy Major’s of Christy’s Palate challenged the #WinePW crew to pair wine with this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration! Do you think our wine and food pairings stack up to Cinco de Mayo?
Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration of Mexico’s Independence; that day takes place on September 16th each year. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of a Mexican victory over the French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The battle is significant because the Mexican army was outnumbered and out matched yet still defeated the French army, and because it signifies the last time any country in the Americans was invaded by a European army. Though the date has significance in Mexico and has been celebrated by Mexican Americans for years; as Vinepair explains, in “1989 the San Antonio based Gambrinus Group, who were the regional importers of Corona and Grupo Modelo, launched a Cinco de Mayo themed ad encouraging Mexican Americans already celebrating the holiday to make it a priority on this day to drink Mexican beer. The campaign took off.” I can concur in Texas Corona beer is synonymous with Cinco de Mayo! In fact, signs advertising Cinco de Mayo featuring Corona are hanging from every Tex-Mex restaurant in Dallas this past week. Furthermore, Corona is a great pairing on a warm Texas day for washing down some delicious Chalupas, Fajitas or Quesadillas. However, some of us prefer a little wine with our Tex-Mex Cinco de Mayo celebration!
I have had a recipe for chicken mole enchiladas for months so when Christy threw down her challenge I immediately decided it was the dish I was going to make. Because mole is such a strong flavor I knew two things: a little goes a long way and the wine pairing had to be good! Therefore, once my dish was decided I began searching the internet for wines to pair with chicken mole. I immediately came across an article written a few years back in the Dallas Morning News challenging local sommeliers to pair wine with chicken mole. Two grapes were the overall winners by the panel: Roussanne and Tempranillo; and the wines the panel selected were Texas wines. Hhhmmm… Texas wines paired with Cinco de Mayo ~ I loved the idea! Furthermore, before heading to my local wine retailer I looked in my cellar and found two Texas wines that I thought would work perfect for my Cinco de Mayo dinner!
Calais Winery La Cuvee Principale Roussanne 2012 Millesime: This wine was crafted from grapes grown 100% in the Texas High Plains. It poured a gentle yellow into the glass and opened with bright aromas of orchard fruit, toasted almonds and crushed stone. On the palate it was silky smooth, creamy and offered a crisp acidity with flavors of Granny Smith apples, pears, almonds, light notes of white flowers and a lingering minerality. It was well-structured, rich and elegant with a round mouth feel and a lingering dry, persistent finish. This wine was barrel fermented and aged in French oak barrels for 9 months. SRP $22; click here to order from Calias Winery. I really enjoyed this wine.
From the Calais Winery web site: CALAIS Winery is a Boutique Winery created by French Winemaker Benjamin CALAIS. We are crafting small amounts of high quality wines using traditional French techniques. We released our inaugural wine in October 2008 and now have 4 wines released with more to come.
Inwood Estates Vineyards Segundo, Lot 1 Red Wine: This wine was crafted from blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec from “TX and other American vineyards.” I bought it a couple of years ago on the Dallas Wine Trail; the vintage is not listed and I do not know it. It poured a rich garnet with scarlet highlights into the glass and opened with pleasing aromas of red and black fruit, licorice, spice, tobacco, smoke and espresso. It was a surprisingly smooth, well-structured wine with flavors of red cherries, plums, pomegranates, cranberries with wet tobacco leaves, toasted cedar and smoke; finishing with licorice and espresso on the back of the palate. The tannins were well integrated, the acidity was rich and round with nice concentrated fruit balanced with a tonal earthiness. Another winner!
From the Inwood Estates Vineyard web site: “In the future, Texas will become the ‘Europe’ of North America, mimicking the greatest Old World styles on American soil. Inwood’s mission is to pioneer those products with cutting-edge viticulture.” Dan Gatlin, Inwood Estates Winemaker
Both wines were tasted and both were quite good. Now for the meal and the pairing…..
I came across this recipe for Chicken Mole Enchiladas by Clinton Kelly of the Chew. I am not a huge fan of mole and I have never made it before but for some reason this recipe resonated with me. As I said early when Christy challenged us to pair wine with a South of the Border dish for Cinco de Mayo I knew it was time to try this recipe. The mole sauce involved several steps but it was easy to make and came out just like the recipe predicted. I used house made fresh whole wheat tortillas from Central Market (if you shop at Central Market you know how good these are!) And since the recipe called for store bought rotisserie chicken the assembling of the enchiladas was quick and easy. I decided to pair the enchiladas with brown rice seasoned with chopped fresh cilantro, green onions and fresh squeezed lime juice and it turned out delicious. I also added another fun spring side that is not necessarily “south of the border” cuisine; petite red, orange and yellow peppers sliced lengthwise, filled with goat cheese, topped with panko bread crumbs and a touch of EVOO then baked till golden brown. I am sorry I don’t have recipes for the rice and peppers but they were super easy so just follow these directions. Finally, for our Cinco de Mayo celebration we had to have dessert! Again I strayed from traditional “south of the border” cuisine, opting instead for something light and perfect for spring: strawberry short cake. I bought an Angel food cake and topped it with fresh sliced strawberries, a touch of strawberry glaze, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. YUM!
So how did the wines match up with my Cinco de Mayo dinner? In a word, excellently! Both wines really worked quite well. The Calias Roussanne was especially good with the roasted peppers but both wines worked great. If you have never had Roussanne I highly recommend you try it. It is a heavier white wine that is not as oaky as many Chardonnays; it stands up quite well to meals you may think too big for a white wine. The Tempranillo blend was also a great pairing. The mole had stout beer, chocolate and brewed coffee in it so it worked beautifully with the earthiness of the Inwood red wine. And by dessert the wines were gone, which is fine because I don’t either of them would pair with the strawberry shortcake. My family was pleased and left the table full. So the next time you make chicken mole I suggest pairing it with Roussanne and Tempranillo from Texas!
Check out what my fellow #WinePW participants came up for their Cinco de Mayo wine and food pairing challenge:
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Cam has prepared “Dry-Rubbed Tri Tip Roast with Halter Ranch ‘s 2011 Cotes de Paso”
Cindy from Grape Experiences “Wine and Dine for #winePW: Matanegra Vendimia Seleccionada 2010 and Queso Fundido”
David from Cooking Chat is pairing “Spanish Wine for Pork Tacos”
Jennifer from Vino Travels mixes it up with “Mexican meets Italian: Fish Tacos with Stemmari Sparkling Grillo”
Lori from Dracaena Wines “Mexican Musings on #WinePW”
Martin from Enofylze Wine Blog “Chicken Pipian Verde, Mexican Quinoa and the Devil’s Collection White”
Nancy from Pull That Cork “Spicy Chicken Salad with Guacamole and a South African Rose for #winePW”
Sarah from Curious Cuisiniere presents “Carnitas and the Basics of Mexican Food & Wine Pairing”
Wendy from A Day in the Life on a Farm bring us Veggie Quesadillas with and old vine Nisia from Spain
Confessions of a Culinary Diva is pairing wines from Baja California
My Song Selection: In Texas, the history of Texas and Mexico is inseparable in the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Furthermore, since the modern popularity of the observance was largely fueled by a San Antonio based beer importer as far as I am concerned Cinco de Mayo is as much Texan and is it Mexican. Therefore, this occasion has to be paired with Tejano music. Tejano is Tex-Mex style folk and pop music that originated among Mexican-Americans living in Texas. It is a very popular style of music that even has its own awards show. One of the most successful Tejano artist was Selena; therefore, I am choosing one of her songs to pair with these Texas wines, Tex-Mex food and Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Get your own bottles of Texas wine and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!