The Counselor, 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon by Alexander Valley


So, you want a good wine to go with Mexican food?  Well I have a wine for you.  A Cabernet, yes you heard me right, a Cab for Mexican food.  First we must look at some pairing rules for Spicy foods (usually Mexican but could also be for any food that is really spicy) to appreciate this unusual pairing.  Rule #1 – Spicy food pairs with lower alcohol wines and moderate tannins.  The reason for this is to help with the burning feeling of capsicum (found in hot peppers).  Rule #2 – White meat means white wine, Red meat means red wine.  Reason for this is that the white meats (Chicken and fish) tend to be lighter thus requiring a lighter bodied wine (usually white).  Rule #3 – Foods with lots of greens (Vegetables) tend towards the wines with higher acidity and fruitier wines.

OK now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you how rules are meant to be broken, and the Red Wine Guys will always look to break the rules when red wine is concerned.  My wife and I were having dinner at a marvelous Mexican restaurant in La Jolla (CA) called the Red O.  Now when I get Mexican food I usually will have a Margarita.  This night I wasn’t in the mood for one and I really wanted a glass of wine with my meal.  I didn’t feel like ordering a bottle either, so what does one do?  Ask for the house wine of course!

I don’t usually order house wines in a restaurant as they are usually not very good, but when I saw we could order a carafe I said, oh alright why not.  I also found out that the wine was from Alexander Valley, one of my favorite regions in the Sonoma County for Cabernet.

Upon first sip, I knew we had a good wine, strawberry overtones, smooth and full bodied, yet not overpowering, but does it go with Mexican food?  The wine did not meet any of the criteria for pairing with Mexican food.  It was on the jammy side but not as oaky as some Cabernets.  We had Chile rellenos, enchiladas and empenadas.  Guess what – it was marvelous!  With every bite of food the wine succeeded in making the meal even better, after all isn’t that the whole idea behind pairing?  So the moral of this story is don’t let pairing rules rule your decisions.  Explore and be adventurous and you just might discover an unexpected pairing.    I give this wine 4 glasses.          



About myredwineguys

My red wine guys, Jim and Rich, have been drinking and comparing red wines together for the last 10 years. We drink reds exclusively (except for champagne during New Year’s Eve celebration's or special occasions). In our search to find the best red wine for the buck, we are constantly buying and drinking a variety of reds. Frequently, we see many of our favorite reds increase in price (making them impractical to buy and consume with the dismal economy). This motivates us to try and compare lesser known reds from a variety of wineries. We are constantly telling our friends where to buy and save on these great reds. One weekend over a bottle of red wine (of course), we decided to share our recommendations with the world via a blog (with the support of our wives who really think this is another way for us to drink more red wine). We are going to be making road trips up the coast and sharing our opinions on some great California Reds. Jim is a retired Navy Senior Chief now working as a Navy Technical Rep. His world travels have given him the opportunity to taste wines on different continents. He finds himself often comparing them to his favorite region – Napa Valley’s Oakville/Rutherford districts that produce some of the world’s best Cabernet Sauvignon's. Richard is a musician who grew up in Santa Maria with a family rich with red wine tradition. According to the family legends, his grandfather used to make wine out of grapefruit when grapes were not available. He grew up drinking and making wine with his father and other Italian families in the central coast, long before there were grape vines in the area. In fact, the reason his family located to California was to make wine! Thank you for visiting our site! We hope you enjoy a glass of exceptional red wine soon!
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