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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

How to Pair Wine with Nachos

The ubiquitous dish has so seamlessly assimilated into American culture that many of us forget about its Mexican heritage. The dish was born in the 1940s, in a small town just across the Texas border called Piedras Negras, Coahuila. As the legend goes, a crew of U.S. military wives dropped in and maître d’ Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya couldn’t find the cook, so he hastily threw some fried chips, cheese and jalapeño together under the broiler. The addictive snack spread like wildfire across Texas, and the rest is happy hour history.

Like most bar foods, nachos have been upgraded over the years, from simple renditions topped with cheese and chilis to brisket-crowned versions and even “totchos”—that’s tater tot nachos, for those unfamiliar with the lingo. In spite of the dish’s glow-up, it’s still far more common to wash nachos down with beer or a margarita rather than a nice glass of wine—a major mistake.

...Rebecca Phillips, co-owner and wine director of Los Angeles’s Vintage Wine + Eats and Buvette LA. “Wine can have a beginning, a middle and an end with a long finish, and with a beverage that’s so complex and so much on its own, to pair it with a dish like nachos, you’re really cranking the dial. You’ve elevated the whole situation—not because it’s fancy, but because of the additional flavor.”

She has a point. If we can dress up nachos with steak and nopales, why can’t we dial it up another level with a well-matched wine? We took to the pros to find out how to do it. Here are the best nacho and wine pairings, according to sommeliers.

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