Yes, some wines go with Mexican food for Cinco de Mayo

May 6, 2019

Big doings on the horizon – it’s almost Cinco de Mayo, May 5 for those with English as a first language. I’m all in for Cinco. As the product of immigrants, I recognize the importance of remembering one’s heritage. I do wish we would revert to the “melting pot” ethos of my youth, though, instead of drifting into a balkanized enclave of ghettos. Younger folks, those with short memories or scant historical awareness seem to forget that the transition of minority immigrants takes several generations, and generally speaking, follows similar patterns each time. That said, ESL and several other well-intentioned political decisions don’t foster assimilation, in my opinion. Lack of assimilation has the deleterious effect of slowing minority opportunity. So, let’s celebrate various ethnic holidays and push for assimilation. In case you missed Eliot Ness, please explain the diff between the Irish, Italian and Jewish criminal elements prior to and during Prohibition, and the gangs today. Most immigrants are hardworking, family-oriented, decent people.

Ehlers Estate Sauvignon Blanc St. Helena Napa has a new winemaker by way of Spain named Laura Diaz Munoz. Her background of an MS enology U. Madrid with experience in Spanish vineyards, NZ and Napa shows in her mastery of Sauvignon Blanc. She is gaining a name for cluster management and micro oxygenation. The 2018 was cool fermented to 100 percent dry, then left on lees for six months with weekly batonnage (stirring) providing body. The floral nose has trop fruit hints. Bone dry, it is balanced by  bouquet and grapefruit flavors. Bright acidity provides a long, clean finish, 90 McD points. It is a bit pricey at $32, but searching tells me most stores will price it under $30. Great with Mexican salads, seafood and guac. Good opportunity here to buy a 2016 and 2018 to compare different winemakers.

Food from Central America seems to go best with beer. No. 1 in Mexico is Negro Mondelo. It’s spicy and nutty, with caramel and chocolate undertones, great with tacos, enchiladas, and burritos! The beer’s spice enhances the spiciness of the food. From Guatemala, Brava Extra Pale Lager, 5 percent ABV, is the best of an average lot. Moza Dark Lager for those who like Bock beers at 5.6 percent is a tad better. Look for hints of brown sugar (although it is not sweet), caramel and roast malt. For a light Mexican, I prefer Pacifico over Corona. So did the panel. It is very similar but less filling. Here’s a beauty for ya. The No. 1 USA demand within the Hispanic community is actually Chelato. Oddly, these are Bud or Bud Light with Clamato, lime and salt in a can. You add your own hot sauce. I found it barely palatable. Thankfully, the spittoon was close at hand. Those who enjoy Alligator Soup aka Red Eye or Red Rooster may like it. Corona is the No. 1 import to USA. So much for my taste buds.

IPAs are especially appropriate with hot, spicy food. Winner of best summer beers blind tasting was Whirlpool APA, Night Shift Brewing from Everett (suburban Boston), Mass., 4.5 percent ABV, two rounds of dry hopping, with dry, zesty finish. Goes great with grilled chicken also. If you prefer an 8.5 ABV, four times dry hopped, cloudy, bitter IPA, Don’t Call It Hotlanta by Monday Night Brewing is a great pick. Zombie Dust is the first-place winner at Beer Advocate. Tough find from 3 Floyds Brewing in Indiana, 6.2 ABV, single hopped with Citra hops from Yakima, Wash., medium-bodied, pale ale. Beer and food aficionados be sure to check out Julia Herz’s work at No disrespect to our local brewers who are also doing a wonderful job.

Mother’s Day is May 12. I will send recommendations for Mom’s lobster dinner and/or filet mignon next week. To all you mothers out there, Happy Mother’s Day. For all others, please remember your mom. My mom passed several years ago. Although I don’t dwell on it, occasionally I recall the rare times I was remiss in remembering birthdays and other special days. Plan ahead. She never forgot my birthday.