Love story–wines and foods of Latin America

 “Where love is concerned, too much is not even enough.”

–  Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732-1799)

In my world, too much Valentine’s Day is not enough. Maybe I’m a sucker for love, or maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to eat chocolate all day long. Regardless, I thought I’d spread the amor by sharing my experience providing wine pairings for a pre-Valentine’s fiesta this past Sunday.  The passionate affair between Latin American foods and the wines that adore them is like a sweeping romantic drama I never get sick of watching. So dim the lights, grab a box of bonbons, and find out what happens when a spicy dish meets a suave Latin American.

The Prologue

It all started with those randy Spanish conquistadores, who had the insight to bring the grapevine to the Americas. The Spaniards had a winemaking tradition dating back to the Roman Empire, circa 210 B.C. Fast forward to modern times, circa four days ago. A macho Spanish Rioja falls in lust with a picante Latin version of an American classic: beef sliders with potatoes in a creamy jalapeño cilantro sauce. The result is nothing short of explosive.

 A splash of 2009 Aspaldi Rioja Cosecha with jalapeño beef sliders. ¡Caliente!

Scene 1: Peru and Uruguay – a mouthwatering match

So this saucy Peruvian dish walks into a bar and collides with a crisp Uruguayan. Her name: Tallarín Verde. Chicas y chicos, this is the stuff telenovelas are made of. In case you’re wondering, the Uruguayan is none other than a 2010 Pisano Torrontes Rio de los Pájaros from Progreso, Uruguay. The reason these two are such a good match: The crisp acidity of the wine harmonizes with the rich, cheesy sauce of tallarín verde, or ‘green spaghetti.’ This classic Peruvian pasta dish features a creamy basil sauce that’s heavy on the garlic and cheese. Two words: Qué sexy.

Scene 2: It takes two to tango

The plot thickens: Red wine and chocolate become Latin lovers in the form of chicken mole tacos and an Argentine Malbec. Call them Latin America’s sweethearts. The reason they work well is that the spice of the mole sauce matches the spicy notes in the Malbec. Tango Trivia Time: The smoldering dance was born in the poorer neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. Fittingly, you don’t have to marry a millionaire to be able to afford this 2008 Flichman Malbec Tupungato, a steal at $15.99.

If this tall, dark and handsome Malbec asks you to tango, say ¡Sí!

Scene 3: Chile verde and Chilean Chardonnay meet cute

Chile verde. Wine from Chile. Irresistible, especially when you add a sweet cream corn sauce. The smooth, buttery flavor of the 2010 Chateau Los Boldos Cuvée Tradition Chardonnay complements the creaminess of the sauce. ¡Qué romántico!

Happy Ending: Red Velvet Cake falls for an Italian 

How could anyone not fall in love with Brachetto, a salmon-pink, sweet Italian sparkling wine? Rumor has it that this was the beverage of choice among Italian high school students back in the 80s, which makes my own youthful dalliances with strawberry daiquiris sound muy cheesy by comparison. Brachetto is a hit at all the pairings Señorita Vino has recently created, so hurry on over to your local wine shop for a bottle of Sant Orsola Brachetto d’Acqui. That’s amore!

Stay for the Credits:

All of the wines featured in this post were purchased by Señorita Vino at Total Wine and Spirits in Redondo Beach, Calif. Total Wine is a national retailer with an extensive selection of wines from all over the world. Look them up online to find the nearest location.

The delectable dishes mentioned were the creative genius of Art Rodriguez, who with his partner Stephen Chavez are co-founders of They graciously invited Señorita Vino to select wines for the food tasting menu at their first-ever My Foodie Valentine party. ¡Besos, muchachos!

20 thoughts on “Love story–wines and foods of Latin America

  1. I love the way this wine pairing weaved it’s way into the heart of spicy latin food. Your writing is spectacular…. LOVE IT! Raising my glass to you! I posted a sweet photo of you on my blog from the event. xoxo

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Nicole! A toast to you, too 🙂

      1. Todos se ven buenísimos!!! Y las combinaciones ni hablar!! Muy buena naracción!

  2. Those wines are LOVELY! Great picks Pamela!

    1. Gracias, Ericka! If you like reds, the Rioja was pretty popular with the group that night. Cheers!

  3. Love Total Wine & Love this post! Right up my Wine alley! :):)

    1. Thanks for reading, Barbara. Glad to have another wine lover in the house. ¡Salud!

  4. My mouth smiles with the memory of the Brachetto. Truly delicious.

    1. It’s a winner! Let me know if you come across any other yummy Brachettos.

  5. i love the love story here! Chile verde after some sweet corn? Yes, please!

  6. Love this article! You are so clever and creative. Thank you for sharing your knowledge in such a fun way.

  7. Love the pairings Pamela…come to Germany and we can drink wine as we float down the Rheine River….spring and summer are perfect…oh fall too…

    1. Viele danke, Veronica – I’m so there! Glad you liked the pairing ideas. Prost!

  8. This post makes me want to tango, eat paella, visit Peru … all with a glass of red wine in hand.

  9. Love the way you told this story lol. And that cake! Yum!

  10. I love Spanish wines. I’m a big fan of the Rioja and Albarino. The food and wine pairings were absolutely delicious!

  11. Hola Senorita Vino! Loving your blog. I’ve been taking the Total Wine classes for close to 2 years and just signed up for WSET certification through local university. Your selections here are right up my alley. I’m a big PISANO and Uruguayan Tannat fan and Torrontes is growing on me. I thought I had tried the FINCA FLICHMAN Tupungato Malbec but it turns out I had their 2008 Dedicado line which was also fantastic. Will keep an eye out for the Tupungato. Thank you for the great tips!
    Ernest M. Gonzalez

    1. Hola, Ernesto! I’m so happy you’re enjoying the blog, and that you liked the Latin American wine selections. I’ll have to try the 2008 Dedicado from Finca Flichman. Good for you for signing up for the WSET certification! Best of luck and keep us posted. ¡Salud!

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