Beef Burritos pair best with medium-bodied earthy yet fruity reds like Malbec, Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Cabernet Franc, Rioja and Carménère. While beef is the prominent flavour in a beef burrito, you also get the addition of guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese, starchy beans and rice, grilled vegetables and spicy sauces that make wine pairing a challenge.
Heavy wines with lots of tannin will clash with the acidity found in salsa, thus, I would not recommend Cabernet Sauvignon or other bold reds with your Beef Burrito if you go heavy on the salsa (or any tomatoes)
Best Wine with Beef Burritos
Rioja & Beef Burrito Pairing
Rioja is a medium-bodied red bursting with plum and black cherry flavours, along with earthy and black pepper notes. Primarily made from the Tempranillo grape and blended in other reds, such as Garnacha, this Spanish red wine loves anything smoky or grilled.
The black pepper notes shine when they wash over the beef flavours found in your Burrito. Meanwhile, the plum and black cherry notes offer ample refreshment against the carbohydrate-heavy beans and spicy rice that tend to dull our taste buds.
I love an aged Rioja with burritos, as this wine has all the flavours mentioned above, along with notes of cigar box, vanilla, dried fig, and brown sugar. These extra flavours add more complexity to the dish and ensure things always stay exciting. In addition, notes of smoke, vanilla, tobacco, and leather all go great with the grilled beef stuffed into the Burrito. Older bottles of Rioja will be labelled as Reserva or Gran Reserva. Gran Reserva Rioja is expensive and is better suited for special occasions and meatier dishes like a Sunday Roast of Beef or Lamb versus typical foods like Burritos.
Aged Rioja might be too tannin-heavy for Burritos featuring salsa, as the acidity of the tomato will make the wine taste flat. However, a young and lightly oaked Rioja will pair just fine with a touch of gently spiced salsa, as the tannin will be more in balance with the acidity of Rioja. You’ll see younger bottles of Rioja labeled as Crianza
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo & Beef Burrito Pairing with Salsa
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a juicy medium-bodied red wine which has just enough acidity to ensure that it will pair well with any salsa in your Burrito. The wine also features robust herbal flavours and grippy tannin that pairs perfectly with the beef (and any seasonings) found in your Burrito (especially if it is a fattier cut of beef.
Burritos, as delicious as they are, are meant for something other than meek wines, as the weight of all the cheese, rice, salsa, beans and sauces will crush gentler wines. Fortunately, Montepulciano has enough heft and personality to withstand all these smothering flavours. Expect rich and velvety flavours of blackberry, black cherry, earth, leather, plum, spice and black pepper with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, all of which mingle perfectly with the grilled beef and starchy flavours of your Burrito.
Malbec & Beef Burrito Pairing
With its smoky, berry, and chocolate bouquet, Malbec is an inexpensive red that is a no-brainer with beef heavy burritos. The smoky and chocolate notes match the charred flavours of the grilled beef or veggies that lay within your delicious Burrito. The smoky notes also play well with the earthy bean and rice flavours or some of the more mild pepper sauces.
Malbec has a short finish and is more suited towards Burritos with leaner cuts of beef. You’ll love Malbec’s smooth, chocolaty finish as it washes down each flavour-packed bite of your Burrito.
My preference for Beef Burritos would be a Malbec from Argentina. I enjoy how the fruit-forward plum and black cherry notes contrast the dense burrito flavours. Malbec from France is a little more leathery, earthy, floral and bitter, making them less crowd-pleaser than the Argentinian style.
Cabernet Franc & Beef Burrito Pairing
Cabernet Franc has a greenness to it that complements any grilled green or red bell peppers that might be stuffed into your Burrito. You’ll also find a medium-high acidity that helps cut through the starchy bean and fatty cheese flavours stuffed inside.
Fruit wise, expect rich yet tart flavours of raspberry, red cherry and blackberries to keep you enamoured with the meatiness of your Burrito.
If you’ve had a change of heart and have decided to go vegan, Cabernet Franc is also perfect with meatless Burritos. The bell pepper notes and herbal, green olive and spices love the grilled bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cabbage, or any herbs that may have made their way into your vegan Burrito.
Carménère & Beef Burrito Pairing with Cilantro
Cilantro is an herb you either love or hate. Some people think it tastes like soap, while others, like me, enjoy the peppery lemon flavours it delivers.
Carménère has a green herbal notes that complement cilantro or any other green herbs or spices that might be inside your Burrito. Younger bottles of Carménère may also feature flavours of vegetables, leaves, and green bell peppers, which will go amazing with any grilled veggies wrapped up in your Burrito. Older bottles of Carménère on the other hand, showcase notes of black pepper, making it an instant hit with the beef and peppery flavours of your cilantro.
With Carménère, also expect firm black cherry, raspberry and plum flavours, which are refreshing against the starchy bean and bready flavours. You’ll also find notes of chocolate, earth, game, meat, mocha and smoke.