Now that the chill of winter is gone and we are starting to see a little more greenery around the vineyard, patio season pairings are certainly on our minds. Over the winter, we have been pairing one of our newest and favourite blends, the 2018 Cabernet Merlot, with hearty, deeply flavoured dishes—and it has been hitting the spot! But with all this warm weather and sunshine, we’re craving something vibrant, complex, and a little smoky with our Cab Merlot: Birria Tacos!

If you haven’t heard of this delicious traditional Mexican dish, then let us take you on a little culinary adventure…

Originating from the small town of Cocula, in the State of Jalisco, ‘Birria’ evolved over several generations from a simple family stew into a traditional celebratory dish served at special occasions and holidays. Though the word ‘Birria’ roughly translates to ‘mess’ in English—kind of fitting for tacos, wouldn’t you say? —its culinary meaning is actually: “Exquisite savory dish, full of culture and tradition.”

Today, Birria is still served in its traditional form, however, it has recently taken on a more modern connotation within the street food scene: Birria Quesatacos. The taco meat is prepared in the customary Birria method: stewed for several hours in a unique combination of herbs and spices, after which it emerges with fantastically complex flavour and is unbelievably tender. Accompanied by fresh shredded cabbage, diced onion, cilantro, cheese, and lime, this dish has “patio” written all over it.

Be forewarned: though this dish is not overly complicated to master, it is definitely not a 30-minute meal. We recommend attempting this pairing over the weekend, or when you have a day or two to spare during the week. SO worth the effort, though. Trust us.

Now, the wine!

The 2018 Cabernet Merlot boasts dark red berry fruit notes delicately intertwined with toasted cocoa, and ripe tannins. Its bold character stands up beautifully to the vibrant flavours in this recipe, helping to bring out the subtle smoky flavours and hints of sweetness.

We absolutely love this match up and we have a feeling you will too. If you happen to try it out, feel free to tag/message us on social media to let us know how it went.

We always love a good taco + wine story!

P.S. Vegetarian/Vegan Friends: We didn’t forget about you! This recipe is easily customizable by replacing the beef with jackfruit, swapping the beef stock for veggie, and by using vegan cheese (if needed). Bon Appetit!