While beef is the main flavour in a beef burrito, you also get the addition of guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese, starchy beans and rice, grilled vegetables and spicy sauces that make wine pairing a challenge. In most instances, medium-bodied earthy yet fruity reds like an Argentinian Malbec, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, Montepulciano, Rioja and Carmenère pair best.
Tempranillo & Beef Burrito Pairing
Tempranillo is a medium bodied red bursting with plum and black cherry flavours, along with earthy and black pepper notes.
The black pepper notes shine when they wash over the beef flavours found in your burrito. Meanwhile, the plum and black cherry notes offer ample refreshment against the carbohydrate-heavy beans and spicy rice that tend to dull our tastebuds.
I love an aged Tempranillo with burritos, as this wine has all the flavours mentioned above, along with notes of cigar box, vanilla, dried fig, and brown sugar. These extra flavours add more complexity to the dish and ensure things never get boring.
Aged Tempranillo might be a little too tannin heavy for Burritos featuring salsa as the acidity of the tomato will make the wine taste flat. However, a young and lightly oaked Tempranillo will pair just fine with a touch of gently spiced salsa as the tannin will be more in balance with the acidity of Tempranillo.
Montepulciano & Beef Burrito Pairing with Salsa
Montepulciano is a juicy medium-bodied red wine which has a naturally high acidity that ensures it will pair well with any salsa in your burrito. The wine also features robust herbal flavours and grippy tannin that pairs perfectly with the beef (and any seasonings) found in your burrito (especially if it is a fattier cut of beef.
Burritos, as delicious as they are, are not meant for meek wines as the weight of all the cheese, rice, salsa, beans and sauces will crush gentler wines. Fortunately, Montepulciano has enough heft and personality to withstand all these smothering flavours.
Malbec & Beef Burrito Pairing
With its smokey, berry, and chocolate bouquet, Malbec is an inexpensive red that is a no-brainer with beef heavy burritos. The smokey and chocolate notes match the charred flavours of the grilled beef or veggies that lay within your delicious burrito. The smokey notes also play well with the earthy bean and rice flavours, or some of the more mild pepper sauces.
Malbec doesn’t have a long finish, and as such, is more suited towards Burritos with leaner cuts of beef. We guarantee that you’ll love the smooth chocolaty finish of Malbec as it washes down each flavour-packed bite of your burrito.
My preference with Beef Burritos would be a Malbec from Argentina. I enjoy how the fruit-forward plum and black cherry notes contrast the dense burrito flavours. Malbec from France is a little more leathery, earthy, floral and bitter, which makes them less of a crowd pleaser than the Argentinian style.
Cabernet Franc & Beef Burrito Pairing
Cabernet Franc has a greenness to it that complements any grilled green or red bell peppers that might be stuffed into your burrito. You’ll also find a medium-high acidity that helps cut through the starchy bean and fatty cheese flavours stuffed inside.
If you’ve had a change of heart and have decided to go vegan, Cabernet Franc is perfect with meatless Burritos as well. The bell pepper notes, along with the tart fruit flavours, loves grilled bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cabbage, or any herbs that may have made their way into your vegan burrito.
Carmenère & Beef Burrito Pairing with Cilantro
Cilantro is an herb that many burrito enthusiasts either love or hate. Nobody ever seems to be on the fence with their appreciation of this flavourful herb.
Personally, I love the intense flavours of cilantro (although I understand to many, it tastes like soap to them), and toss it on my Burritos with glee. Carmenère, I find, has a green herb note that complements cilantro, or any other green herbs or spices, that might be inside your burrito.
With Carmenère, also expect firm cherry, raspberry and plum flavours, which are refreshing against the starchy bean and bready flavours. You’ll also find spicy black pepper notes that make it an instant hit with the slices of sizzling beef.