Like Us On Facebook

Instagram Slider

  • Hi Im Mia Im taking my third nap and chilling
    6 months ago by mariolunasomm Hi, I’m Mia. I’m taking my third nap and chilling with my mommy and daddy. I don’t want my dad to go to the Wine Spectator event tonight on the Strip.
  • Whoooaaaaa! This babys vintage is correct from 1986 This is
    6 months ago by mariolunasomm Whoooaaaaa! This baby’s vintage is correct from 1986. This is Marqués de Murrieta Castilla Ygay Viura. 252 months aged in American oak, another 67 months aged in ceramic tanks, and then rested for another 3 years minimum to achieve the flavor profile that they want. There’s a ton of dill, Meyer lemon, and grilled pear on the nose and finishes very bright (even after 30 years), full-bodied, and a finish that lasts over two minutes long. So how did I sell it? My guest told me they had an specific amount that wanted to spend and they wanted to go
  • 273000 Thats how much wine sales that we have brought
    6 months ago by mariolunasomm $273,000: That’s how much wine sales that we have brought in just from  @bodegasontanon  since the end of 2015. For my wine program, this is THE most important wine portfolio at Jaleo Las Vegas. We are lucky to represent their craft with wines like the Clarete Rosado, Vetiver Viura, the 2005 Reserva and Gran Reserva, Mitologica, and the fun sweet, dessert Marco Fabio. Cheers!
  • Thank you oleimports for the invite to meet Winemaker Jose
    6 months ago by mariolunasomm Thank you  @oleimports  for the invite to meet Winemaker Jose Luis Ortiz and his Quinta de Murradella line. I have the Gorvia Blanco (third wine on the left). This 100% Dona Blanca single vineyard white wine from Monterrei, Spain has been very successful in e by Jose Andres for us. Cheers!
  • My two loves! Happy Mothers Day Alana With Mia this
    6 months ago by mariolunasomm My two loves! Happy Mother’s Day Alana. With Mia, this is the first of many! She’s lucky to have you as her momma. I love you

Chips and Salsa Wine Pairing!

We all have those days where we just want to plop down on the couch, pop in a DVD or Netflix, and just inhale massive quantities of junk food for hours on end.  And yes, this includes me. If I actually ever had a day where I wasn’t out-of-control busy, I could re-watch the entire series of Breaking Bad or, being a Philadelphia Eagles fan, watch the entire last NFL season on DVR and grub like crazy. For those who have the time to relax, gather up your remote and your Snuggie, and let’s enjoy this edition of the $20 Couch Potato:  Chips and Salsa.

Chips and Salsa

We all know what chips and salsa taste like, right?!  The chips have a touch of greasiness that offsets the crisp texture and a scattering of seasoning from the salt and pepper or other flavorings used by your brand of choice.  Salsa can come in a variety of flavors and spices, too, ranging from mild versions to some that a fiery hot.  The texture can be thin or chunky, pureed tomatoes or full of diced onions or corn or mango or black beans or…. You get the idea.  For this particular pairing, we’ll narrow things down and stick to On the Border Tortilla Chips dipped in a thinner style of mildly spiced salsa.

The Approach:  Find the right wine to pair with the salty crunch of tortilla chips and the lingering heat of a mild salsa.

The primary ingredients of tortilla chips:

  • Tortilla chips
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Frying oil

The main ingredients in basic salsa:

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Jalapenos
  • Cilantro
  • Lime juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper (To Season)

Scanning the ingredients above, I’m looking at citrus (acid), salt, spice, and oily, crisp textures.  To find our perfect pairing, let’s consider all the possible varietals and see how they measure up:

Salt and Tannins (drying sensations) do not mesh.

When paired with a dish high in salt, the drying sensation of tannins will cause the pairing to be bitter, and a burning sensation occurs. This rules out high-tannin wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbaresco, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc.

The acidity from the salsa plus the saltiness from chips meshes best with wines with less alcoholic warmth.

The combination of vegetal acidity from the salsa and the saltiness of chips, if paired with very warm alcohol-feel wines, can cause the flavor to explode with burning sensations in your mouth. We now have to exclude a whole slew of high alcohol wines, including:

Reds:  Zinfandel, Malbec, Tempranillos

Whites:  Chardonnay, Marsanne, Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio

Sparkling:  Cava, Champagne, Franciacorta (the Italian version of Champagne)

Here are the remaining possibilities:

Red:  Grenanche and Pinot Noir

White:  Gewurztraminer and Riesling

Sparkling:  Moscato and Prosecco

Residual sweetness is a good match for a dish’s spiciness.

Basically, combining sweet and spice makes everything nice. Two of our remaining wines lack that necessary sweetness: sorry Grenache and Pinot Noir, off you go.

The Final Clue: The right wine must have enough acidity to match the acidity of the chips and salsa.

Salsa’s acidity is relatively moderate, meaning it causes your mouth to lightly salivate without imparting too much burn, and it needs to be paired with a wine featuring similarly moderate acidity. Here are the acidity levels of our remaining wines:

Low Acidity: Moscato

Medium Acidity:  Riesling

High Acidity:  Prosecco

The winner…Riesling!! Riesling has the right amount of acidity, alcohol-based warmth, sweetness, and softness to match with both the tortilla chips and the thin, lightly spiced salsa.  The wine I picked is the Starling Castle Riesling from Mosel, Germany in the 2012 vintage.  It’s about $8 – add in the cost of chips and salsa and you’re still well under the $20 Couch Potato limit.  Enjoy!


Mario Luna

Certified Sommelier

“Wine Education for Real Life!” Starling Castle Riesling from Mosel, Germany 2012

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Sign up now and receive the free eBook, Wine for Beginners Preview. You will also stay up to date with weekly tips to enrich your wine education!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.