Challenging Wine Pairing: Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

By LaGayle ~ November 17th, 2009.

Challenging Wine Pairing: Salsa Verde Chicken EnchiladasIt is so much fun to find recipes, plan menus, and then determine the wines to pair with them. As I’ve mentioned before and regular Wine Peeps readers have probably concluded, we really enjoy spicy, flavorful foods.

As I started planning the menu for this challenge, I decided to focus on Mexican/Southwestern foods. The main course was Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas, an entrée made with verde (green) sauce, sour cream, cheese, and, of course, spices. To round out the meal, I served a side dish which was a combination of a Mexican rice recipe and a Southwestern rice recipe. (My family never knows what I’m going to put together!) The final side dish was mixed vegetables broiled with Mexican seasonings. Yummy!

Once the menu was determined, it was time for me to select the wines. For a Mexican/Southwestern meal, the first beverages that come to mind are generally margaritas or beer; however, there is no reason not to enjoy wine with this meal. Determining which wines would be appropriate was the challenge.

Again, I referred to my favorite book, What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. As a result, the two wines that I selected to pair with the Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas were an Unoaked Chardonnay and a Pinot Grigio. I decided to try the 2008 Gilbert Cellars Unoaked Chardonnay from Washington State and the 2008 Nobilo Pinot Grigio from New Zealand. Both of these wines were absolutely fantastic! We vacillated back and forth as to which we preferred with the meal because both proved to be great pairings. Ultimately, the consensus was the 2008 Nobilo Pinot Grigio. In my opinion, these two wines not only are great with food but would also be great sippers. On top of being good wines, both also received a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

I encourage you to try these challenging wine pairings yourself. All you have to do is select one of your favorite meals that would not necessarily be thought of as a meal to be paired with wine and then choose a couple of different wines to try with it, and you just may discover a wonderful new pairing. If you do, we’d love for you to share it with us and our readers. Also, feel free to suggest meals for us to try in our future challenging wine pairing dinners.

Bon appétit!

2008 Nobilo Pinot Grigio and 2008 Gilbert Cellars Unoaked Chardonnay2008 Nobilo Pinot Grigio (East Coast, New Zealand): Medium yellow-gold in color. Honeysuckle aromas give way to flavors of lemon-lime, melon, and pear. Medium-bodied and smooth. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, WA), $11.49; Available elsewhere, $10 to $15

2008 Gilbert Cellars Unoaked Chardonnay (Columbia Valley, Washington): Very light straw yellow, almost watery-looking. Apricot and floral notes on the nose lead to apples on the palate with a hint of orange peel on the back end. Light-bodied with good acidity. Well-balanced with a medium-long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, WA), $16.99; Available elsewhere, $17 to $18

Filed under: Challenging Wine Pairing, Chardonnay, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Food & Wine, New Zealand Wine, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Michelle Koker | November 17th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Where can I get the recipe for the Salsa Verde Enchiladas?
    Also, check out fun wine jewelry, great for Xmas at
    Thanks. Great articles.

  2. Kori | November 17th, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    We have plans to add a recipe section to the site after the first of the year. Cheers!