The Absolute Best Type Of Wine To Pair With Jalapeños

The right wine pairing can make a delicious meal taste transcendent — that is, when it's done correctly. Given that there's a vast world of wines and an even vaster world of cuisines, pairings might seem a bit intimidating, especially when dealing with spices like jalapeños. If you're unsure where to start when it comes to pairing the piquant peppers, keep reading.

A zesty, herbaceous, and versatile pepper, MasterClass explains that jalapeños are spicy, but definitely don't rank as high on the Scoville scale when compared to fiery habaneros or mouth-burningly hot ghost peppers. That said, they still do back a punch, which is why it can be tricky when exploring what type of wine can face the heat.

Naturally, there are a few factors to consider when pairing wine, the first being preference. Beyond that, the next step is considering the composition of the dish (sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, fattiness) and the composition of the wine (sweetness, acidity, tannin, alcohol, body). Aiming for balance, Wine Enthusiast advises that similar profiles can pair well together, but sometimes opposites attract, which is particularly true when dealing with spicier foods.

Try something on the sweeter side

This summer the internet was set ablaze with mention of spicy rosé — rosé served with slices of fresh jalapeño. While seemingly blasphemous, several sommeliers weighed in and found that in theory, the combination wasn't so bizarre. In fact, Bon Appétit reported that the pepper's spiciness decreased the sensation of sweetness in cheaper and sweeter rosé wines.

Unlike drier European rosé styles, Decanter explains that New World varieties tend to have riper fruit flavors, which can complement the greener, zestier flavors found in dishes where jalapeño is the star. A true tale of opposites attract, try the pairing for yourself.

But if you're not a fan of rosé, you've still got options. Because spice reacts with tannins and alcohol, muting the wine and creating a burning sensation on the palate, Wine Enthusiast recommends wines with low alcohol, high acid, and a bit of sweetness like an off-dry Riesling, an aromatic Gewürztraminer, or even a lightly tannic Gamay.