Empanadas made their way to Portugal and Spain and then to South and Central America almost 500 years ago, and the variety available worldwide today is mind-boggling. Whether baked or fried, folded dough wrapped around savory filling is a delight to the taste buds, and it seems the choices are only limited by availability of ingredients and one’s imagination. Pairing empanadas with wine adds a whole new dimension to potential combinations; here are a few suggestions to get us all started on the quest for the perfect match.
The white-meat version of a Peruvian classic, Chicken Saltado Empanadas are stuffed with chicken, peppers, caramelized onion, potatoes, and plantain. Rocca Della Macìe Moonlite, a white blend from Italy, has enticing flavors of ripe peach and lemon with a delicate creaminess that goes hand in hand with all that flaky goodness.
Empanadas con Carne Molida are a traditional favorite, deep fried and filled with ground beef, green pepper, and onion. Bodegas Norton Colección Varietales Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina, has gorgeous blackberry and raspberry flavors with hints of black pepper and juniper berry that are terrific alongside spicy beef.
Santa Ema Reserva Chardonnay has intense flavors of pineapple and passion fruit and a gorgeous roundness in the mouth. We like it paired with these vegan Creamy Corn-Filled Empanadas. The wine’s fresh flavors and linear acidity bring out the sweet flavor of corn and intensify its mouth-pleasing texture.
These Mexican-style Veracruzana Tuna Empanadas have a rich tangy taste brought on by tuna, olives, and tomatoes. Mar de Frades Albariño, from Spain’s Rias Baixas region, has delicate citrus flavors, a light dose of floral spice, and a zesty finish that makes it a great match for this and other light seafood dishes.
Potato and Peanut Empanadas are jam-packed with flavor that is aided by a piquant sauce of hot pepper, cilantro, and vinegar, requiring an herbaceous wine with a strong character of its own. Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc has full-on citrus and tropical fruit flavors and delightful notes of freshly-chopped green herbs that are a delightful accompaniment to this Colombian favorite.