Chorizo is a highly seasoned chopped pork sausage that varies from region. In Spain, for example, they use smoked pork for their Chorizo. In Portugal, they have a similar product called Chouriço. Mexico has its own interpretation of Chorizo which uses uncooked ground pork and local seasonings. Puerto Rico, Gao, Louisiana, Argentina and various other regions have their own versions of Chorizo as well.
While the taste of Chorizo varies from region to region, you can expect a spicy sausage with smoky flavours, that is high in calories, fat, and sodium. For our picks, we are sticking to young and fresh Spanish reds that feature refreshing fruity flavours such as Navarra, Rioja, Ribera del Duero, and Menica. The fruitiness is a nice contrast against the salt and fat content in Chorizo. The liveliness of the wine also mellows out some of the spicier seasonings and smokiness found in the sausage.
American Wheat Beer & Chorizo Pairing
Chorizo is rarely eaten on its own. Instead, you’ll often find it on a charcuterie board with other preserved meats and cheeses. Given the salty nature of Chorizo, and other meats it may be served with, such as Jamón or Salami, American Wheat Beer carbonation and snappy citrus flavours keeps your mouth refreshed.
Wheat Beer is also fantastic with breakfast brunches where the beer flawlessly cuts through grease and dense carb dishes you’ll come across. I love a Chorizo omelette with bacon and hashbrowns on the side, and sip of Wheat Beer is refreshing each and every time.
Navarra & Spanish Chorizo Pairing
Navarra is a wine region in Spain in which the red wines could be a various blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Graciano and Syrah. Navarra wine is both food friendly and budget friendly, and is a popular pairing with Tapas. Much like Rioja and Ribera del Duero that we mention below, Navarra is young, bright, fruity and offers the perfect counterpoint when pitted against the spiciness, saltiness and fattiness of Chorizo.
Young Rioja & Spanish Chorizo Pairing
Another recommended red wine is a Spanish Rioja. The most common style of Rioja is a light to medium-bodied red, with berry flavours and a citrus tang. The fruitiness is exceptional with Chorizo as it is refreshing against the spicy and smoky backdrop of the seasonings in Chorizo. Chorizo is commonly used more as an ingredient rather than eaten on its own. Thus you’ll see it in dishes such as Chorizo in pasta, Chorizo with chickpeas, Dates stuffed with Chorizo and wrapped in bacon, or Chorizo in an omelette. The upbeat nature of a young Rioja ensures it’s food friendly enough to pair with whatever Chorizo might be a component of.
Aged Rioja is wonderful with Chorizo as well, but for heavier dishes. The fruity flavours of an aged Rioja will mellow out the spicy and smoky notes of the sausage. Meanwhile, the wine has enough toasty oak to play off of the smoky flavours of the Chorizo.
Mencía & Chorizo Pairing
Mencía is not an easy wine to find, but if you ever find yourself in Spain eating tapas with Chorizo based dishes, I urge you to give this wine a try. Mencia is a medium-bodied red that is only grown in Spain and Portugal on the Iberian peninsula. This rare red has floral, strawberry/raspberry, sour cherry, pomegranate and peppery flavours. The peppery flavours complement any seasonings in the Chorizo, while the fruity flavours are a nice contrast to the salty and fat content of the Sausage.
Crianza Ribera del Duero & Chorizo Pairing
A red Ribera del Duero is another Spanish red wine that is perfect with Chorizo and Tapas dishes. The main grape used is Tempranillo, which delivers sweet tannins and mouthwatering acidity that are balanced with black cherry, dried fig, and blackberry flavours. You’ll also find a wisp of earthy notes along with licorice, which will complement any of the seasonings found in the Chorizo.
Crianza means the wine has at least 12 months of aging in oak barrels and is released 2 years after bottling. Thus you can expect a fruity, food-friendly and easily accessible wine. Gran Reserva Ribera del Duero on the other hand are more expensive, as they see at least 2 years of aging in oak. These wines can be eye-poppingly expensive, complicated and brooding. While a Gran Reserva Ribera del Duero they will be delicious with Chorizo, we’d recommend pairing it with more complicated fare, such as roasted lamb shoulder, or grilled beef.