An Expert Weighs In On The Best Wine To Drink With Guacamole And Salsa

Guacamole and salsa are most often paired with beer or margaritas, but if you want to try something different, wine can be a great drink option, too. In fact, wine is ideal for highlighting the dips' flavor nuances as a good bottle of vino is able to embrace the zest of the lime juice and sweetness of tomatoes as well as the richness of the avocados, rather than subdue or totally wash them away.

To track down the best grapes up to the challenge, Food Republic turned to expert Catherine Fallis, Master Sommelier at Planet Grape, who noted that the different ingredients present in the dips help hone in on the best pick. "Guacamole is easy to pair with its rich, mouth-coating texture and herbaceous hint," she said, adding that "salsa has heat, thus a lean to light-bodied and zippy wine makes sense, as this acts to soothe and cool the palate."

To satisfy the needs of both, Fallis lands on a 2021 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough from New Zealand. This varietal is known for its green and vegetal flavors, in addition to high acidity and fruity aromas, making it well-equipped to handle the dynamic appetizer duo. For those that like to play with a variety of salsa options and more than one crunchy dipper, this wine pick can also take on the tang of verdant salsa verde as well as green pepper crudites and traditional tortilla chips.

Why a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with these dips

Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis' choice of a New Zealand wine for salsa and guacamole should come as no surprise to aficionados, as the country is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the varietal. Although the grape is famously grown in France and California, Kiwis have been reliably producing bright, crispy, and aromatic wines that go great with the appetizer spread. This prowess is in part due to the country's climate, where cool nights, high doses of sunlight, and a long growing season help encourage the cultivation of the grapes.

Often described as sharp and acidic, Sauvignon Blancs from this country are known for their notes of lime, jalapeño, and herbs. Considering those are top ingredients in even the most basic guacamole and fresh tomato salsa recipes, this wine pick can only help celebrate those fresh flavors.

Although Fallis names Spy Valley as her brand of choice, you can also seek out one of the many other labels from the Marlborough region if you're having trouble tracking down a bottle. Try to find a bottle similar to her expert recommendation, which boasts a gentle minerality and tastes of passionfruit and white peach.

The added benefits of pairing avocados and wine

When considering a wine for salsa and guacamole, wine expert Catherine Fallis noted a particularly important aspect of the latter; namely, the creaminess of the dish. "As with cheese, fat on the palate generally improves most wine experiences," she explained.

Although we may often think of sharp wines as a helpful tool to cleanse the palate and cut through greasy foods (thus improving the eating experience), the lipids in food actually help improve the drinking experience, too. According to a 2021 study by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, fat can actually make the beverage taste better by reducing the astringency and bitterness of tannins.

Tannins, a compound found in wines (as well as teas, coffees, and other foods) can make wines more complex and dry. They're common in reds but are also present in much smaller quantities in whites. As such, buttery guacamole can not only smooth the bright acidity of a Sauvignon Blanc but slightly bolster its taste, too. After you're finished testing out the combination of the Sauvignon Blanc with your dips, break open a new bottle of red to pair with spicy tacos to keep the party going.