I’m not a vegetarian (far from it, in fact), but this burrito was the easiest to pair with wines even though it contained guacamole, usually a difficult item for wine pairings. While the veggie burrito was easy to pair, it didn’t work well with the some of the reds. The Jam Jar was just too sweet, really clashing with the dish and the Pinot turned lean and rather stripped. The Chardonnay also didn’t fare all that well, turning crisp but lacking the intensity to cut through the fat, much like the rosé.
That left three wines that worked well with this burrito, all for different reasons.
The Torrontes seemed dry and rich when paired with the burrito, but it had such great acidity that it was able to cut right through the guacamole. The citrusy flavors were also an excellent accent to the flavors of the dish.
The Riesling, on the other hand, took cues from the sweetness of the grilled peppers and corn in the dish, both of which tempered the sweetness of the wine, allowing the textures of the guacamole and the wine to complement each other.
The Zinfandel was the big surprise for me here. The intensity of the flavors somehow matched up nicely between the wine and the food, with the subtle sweetness of the cooked veggies in the dish accenting the fruit of the wine.
I thought that this dish, possibly the most popular on the menu, would be an easy one to pair with wine, but somehow it turned out to be the most difficult. Nearly every wine reacted oddly with this combination of ingredients. The Torrontes turned a little sweet and highlighted the spiciness of the dish, while not really adding anything to the pairing. The Chardonnay, on the other hand, turned lean and a bit attenuated. Serviceable, but again, not adding anything to the pairing.
The Jam Jar was simply sweet and fruity, coming off more like fruit juice than wine here. The Zin also turned sweet and jammy, though with an oddly dried out finish. The Pinot simply lacked the intensity to show up for the game.
Narrowing the field
That left two wines that worked, though neither pairing was great. The rosé worked fairly well, though it had its crisp mineral aspect highlighted. A refreshing contrast and a fun way to wash down your burrito, but nothing special.
The Riesling, on the other hand, did its textural thing again. The flavors of the dish really backed off the sweetness level here and highlighted the flavors of the veggies. It was the best pairing of this round, but far from the best pairing of the day.
Steak Fajita Burrito
This turned out to be another challenging item to pair with wine. All the flavors came together in a rather intense way and the beans in the burritos seem to make wine pairing even more of a challenge. The Torrontes was a bit sweet and flat here, the rosé dull and lean, as was the Chardonnay (if less so). The Riesling turned clear and citrusy, but the sugar dulled the flavors of the food.
The Jam Jar worked sort of well here, taking on a more vinous character with the beefy contrast, but the winners were definitely…
Red Wines Rule
The red wines! That’s not at all surprising, though. The fact that both the Pinot and the Zin worked here was a little enlightening.
The Pinot was not the best match but the dish made the wine’s light cherry fruit really pop and while this was a simple pairing, I can totally see pairing these again, though next time I would lightly chill the Pinot to highlight its easy, quaffable character.
The Zin, on the other hand, handily won this round. The burrito smoothed out the texture of the wine and really brought out its juicy varietal character. The interplay of jammy black fruit with gentle herbal suggestions worked really well with the grilled beef, peppers and onions in this dish.
What to drink when you're having only one?
I’ve got to say that this was another exciting round of the Fast Food Wine Challenge. The biggest surprise for me – and it was a very big surprise – was how well the Kenwood Chardonnay worked with many of the dishes and how perfect it was with the chicken tacos! It’s not the best wine with every dish, but if you’re only buying one wine for your next Chipotle feast, it’s the one I would suggest you stock up on!