Who doesn’t love to celebrate chili? The Southwestern classic gets its name from spicy chili peppers that give it its fiery kick. While purists get caught up in the bean vs. no bean debate, we’re okay with this comfort food staple any way it’s served up. As firm believers that anything worth celebrating deserves a glass or two of wine, we’re offering up some ideal pairings with a few different versions of this big bowl of goodness.
The intoxicating depth of Chipotle Chocolate Bison Chili calls for a bold wine. Enjoy it alongside Gran Auracano Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile, whose bold cassis and Mediterranean herb flavors hold up to the rich chocolate in the sauce, while the wine’s final kick of acidity cools down the heat on your palate.
Robert Mondavi Carneros Pinot Noir is a good match for Tex-Mex Turkey Chili. This 100% Pinot Noir from one of Napa Valley’s foremost wineries has fruit-forward cherry and strawberry flavors that pair well with the slight sweetness that corn and butternut squash bring to this delicious chili.
When it comes to Classic Chili con Carne we like a wine that has been aged in oak but is not overpowering. Briego Crianza from Ribera del Duero, Spain spent 14 months in barrel, which adds toast and vanilla notes to flavors of strawberry and blackberry with a hint of cocoa.
Drunken Calabaza Chili, made with pumpkin, red bell pepper, and beer, has a light sweetness and acidity that works well with a floral-inflected white wine. Legaris Verdejo, from Spain’s Rueda region, has bright citrus and white peach flavors that mingle well with the sweet and spicy flavors in the chili.
Some folks prefer their chili sin carne, as in this Red Quinoa Kidney Bean Chili. Simi Sonoma County Rosetto Rosé, made mostly with Cabernet Sauvignon, has bold strawberry and citrus flavors that hold their own against spicy food and wash each fiery mouthful down with shining acidity and a slightly tart finish.