Challenging Wine Pairing: Fajitas a la Baya

By LaGayle ~ December 19th, 2012.

Fajitas are a popular Mexican dish and a Wine Peeps’ favorite. Years ago in Texas, we stumbled upon a delicious fajita preparation at a local restaurant that we absolutely love. Fajitas a la Baya (or berry) is fajitas that have been marinated in wine along with other typical Mexican spices. The flavor it gives the meat and vegetables is fantastic!

In preparing the marinade for this challenging wine pairing dinner, I decided to use Pinot Noir along with garlic, fresh cilantro, kosher salt, and black pepper. Very simple, yet very good. The meat, onions, and bell peppers were grilled and served with soft corn tortillas, pico de gallo, and guacamole. Mexican rice, ranchero beans, and a green salad dressed with a honey Serrano balsamic vinegar accompanied the fajitas a la baya.

Once the menu was set, my attention turned to selecting the best wines to pair with the meal. After referring to my favorite guide, What to Drink with What You Eat, I decided to go with a Pinot Noir from Oregon and a Primitivo from Washington State. I selected the 2010 Winderlea Dundee Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir and the 2009 Columbia Crest Reserve Primitivo. While we enjoyed both wines very much, the nod for the best pairing with the fajitas a la baya went to the Pinot Noir. It really complemented the flavors in the fajitas without overpowering them.

What would you have paired with this meal? We would love to hear your thoughts. And, as always, we welcome your suggestions for challenging wine pairings for us to try in the future.

Bon Appétit!

2010 Winderlea Dundee Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills, Oregon): Medium-deep ruby red in color. Nice nose with earth, raspberry, and olive aromas. Raspberry, earth, and sour cherry come through on the palate. Medium-bodied with lively acidity and soft tannins. Well-balanced with a long, smooth finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $38; Available elsewhere, $35 to $44

2009 Columbia Crest Reserve Primitivo (Stone Tree Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): Deep purplish red. Aromatic with black cherry, black pepper, and chocolate on both the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium to high tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $30

Filed under: American Wine, Challenging Wine Pairing, Food & Wine, Lesser Known Varietals, Oregon Wine, Pinot Noir, Red Wine, Washington State Wine, Wines Over $25

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