A meal from south of the border has always proved a challenge to the Wine Armada. The spicy heat, and complex flavors, from so many Mexican dishes, makes wine pairing difficult. Red wine in particular, with tannins and higher alcohol levels, only serves to intensify fiery flavors to make jumping ship seem like the only viable option.
We finally unloaded one our finds from Binny's in Chicago and this unusual bottle proved to be the answer to our "spicy food prayers." The 2006 Alaia by Dehesa de Rubiales from Castilla y Leon proved to be an excellent partner when paired with pork chops, chile rellenos and ancho sauce. The smoky, earthy flavors, and slightly sweet, dark fruit on the finish of this medium-bodied blend (50% - the rare prieto picudo grape, 45% tempranillo & 5% merlot) makes me think the Wine Armada may have finally discovered the elusive Spanish red wine match for food that leans toward the hotter side of the thermometer.
Now, if only we could find something to pair with the even more elusive grilled asparagus.