Skip to Content

What wine goes with tequila?

Tequila is a distilled alcoholic drink made from the blue agave plant. It originates from Mexico and is commonly associated with celebrations, parties and fun times. While tequila is often enjoyed as a shot, especially when accompanied by lime and salt, it can also be sipped and savored like other fine spirits such as whiskey or cognac. This has led many tequila aficionados to ponder what wines might complement the complex flavors of good tequila.

What are the main considerations when pairing wine with tequila?

There are a few key factors to consider when selecting a wine to enjoy alongside tequila:

The aromas and flavors in tequila

High quality tequila offers a bouquet of complex aromas like citrus, pepper, vanilla, caramel, fruits, and herbs. The flavors tend to be bold with notes of pepper, oak, agave, and spice. Blanco tequila tends to have more vibrant, herbal, and citrusy notes while reposado and añejo tequilas develop deeper flavors from the aging process in wood barrels.

Body and sweetness level of the wine

Since tequila can be quite bold in flavor, you’ll want a wine that can stand up to it. Light and delicate wines will get drowned out. Look for wines with medium to full body and relatively low sweetness. Dry wines usually pair best.

Wine regions and grapes that complement tequila

Tequila’s native terroir in Mexico and South America can be a good starting point. Regions like Spain, Southern France, Italy, and California produce wines made from grapes like Tempranillo, Grenache, Sangiovese, and Zinfandel which can mimic tequila’s flavor profile.

White wine options for tequila

While red wine is most often recommended with tequila, there are some crisp and aromatic white wines that can complement the herbal notes in blanco tequila. Consider these options:

Sauvignon Blanc

With citrusy and grassy aromas along with medium body and acidity, a Sauvignon Blanc can align nicely with a Blanco tequila. The crisp acidity helps cut through tequila’s bolder flavors. Look for those from New Zealand or California.


This Spanish white grape grown in Galicia makes a dry and acidic wine with lots of peach, citrus, and mineral notes. It has the weight and texture to stand up to tequila’s body.


A Spanish white grape originally from Rueda, Verdejo makes a full-bodied white wine with aromas of citrus, fennel, and herbs. It can match well with the herbal qualities in tequila.


This grape produces a medium to full-bodied white with stone fruit flavors and floral aromas. When grown in warm regions like California, the tropical fruit notes can align with blanco tequila.

Dry Riesling

With crisp acidity, citrus and stone fruit flavors, and often some petrol or mineral notes, dry Riesling from Germany or Alsace has enough weight and intensity of flavor to stand up to tequila.

Wine Varietal Region Key Flavors and Aromas
Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand, California Citrus, grassy, herbal
Albariño Spain Peach, citrus, mineral
Verdejo Spain Citrus, fennel, herbaceous
Viognier California Stone fruit, floral
Dry Riesling Germany, Alsace Citrus, stone fruit, petrol

Red wine options for tequila

For reposado and añejo tequilas with more oak, vanilla, and baked agave flavors, red wines tend to be a better pairing option. Consider these red varieties and regions:


The iconic red grape of Spain, Tempranillo makes medium to full-bodied wines with flavors of cherry, leather, tobacco, and oak that can mirror tequila’s spice and vanilla. Tempranillo blends from Rioja and Ribera del Duero work well.


Grown in Spain and Southern France, Grenache produces wines with bold fruity flavors, peppery spice, and alcohol warmth that complements aged tequila. Blends from Priorat or Châteauneuf-du-Pape match nicely.


This dark purple grape makes robust, oak-aged wines in Argentina with velvety tannins and notes of plum, cocoa, and black pepper. The concentrated fruit flavors and hint of spice complement tequila’s profile.


Zinfandels from California offer jammy dark berry fruit with black pepper spice and sometimes hints of oak or tobacco that can stand up to the boldness of tequila. Lodi and Paso Robles make nice, full-bodied Zins.

Petite Sirah

Inky dark with velvety tannins, this grape makes opaque wines with black fruit, blueberry, and pepper that has the dense flavor intensity to pair with aged tequila’s robust profile.

Wine Varietal Region Key Flavors and Aromas
Tempranillo Rioja, Ribera del Duero Cherry, leather, tobacco
Grenache Priorat, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Fruit, pepper, spice
Malbec Argentina Plum, cocoa, black pepper
Zinfandel California Dark berry, black pepper
Petite Sirah California Black fruit, blueberry, pepper

Other considerations when pairing wine with tequila

While varietal and region are good starting points, here are some other factors to keep in mind:

Oak influence

If drinking an oaky, aged tequila, choose a wine with similar oak influence and vanilla notes like an oak-aged Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sweetness level

The wine should be drier than the tequila. If drinking an extra añejo with caramel sweetness, go for a dry but fruity red like a Rioja Reserva or Chianti Classico Riserva.

Chilling whites and tequila

Chill both the white wine and the tequila before pairing to prevent the alcohol heat from amplifying each other. Serve whites around 45-50°F and tequila around 55-60°F.

Acidity level

To help cut through tequila’s spice and weight, pick wines with bright, palate-cleansing acidity like a Viognier from northern Rhône or an Albariño from Rías Baixas.

Complementary flavors

If you enjoy certain tasting notes in your tequila, match complementary flavors in wines – like orange liqueurs and citrus zest in an off-dry Riesling or tobacco and baking spice in a Brunello di Montalcino.

Ideal wine and tequila pairings

Now that we’ve covered major wine varieties, regions, and pairing considerations with tequila, here are some excellent tequila and wine combinations:

Blanco tequila with Sauvignon Blanc

The citrus and herbal notes will perfectly accentuate each other. Add lime and seafood ceviche for a nicely rounded pairing.

Reposado tequila with Chianti Classico

The oak and spice flavors complement Sangiovese’s cherry fruit and woodsy herbs. Pair with mole chicken or mushroom pizza.

Añejo tequila with Malbec

The plush mouthfeel and cocoa notes beautifully enrich the baked agave in añejo tequila. Enjoy with steak fajitas or oaxaca cheese.

Extra añejo tequila with Port

The intense sweetness and fruit flavors of Port wine aligns perfectly with extra añejo’s caramel and vanilla. Pair with churros for dessert.

Mezcal with dry Chenin Blanc

The petrol aroma in aged Chenin Blanc works brilliantly with smoky mezcal. Team with roasted squash soup.

Tequila Type Wine Pairing Flavor Combination
Blanco Tequila Sauvignon Blanc Citrus, herbal
Reposado Tequila Chianti Classico Oak, spice, cherry
Añejo Tequila Malbec Cocoa, agave, plush
Extra Añejo Tequila Port Sweet, fruity, vanilla
Mezcal Dry Chenin Blanc Smoky, petrol

Tequila and wine cocktail ideas

In addition to sipping tequila and wine side-by-side, you can also combine them into shared cocktails:

Sangria with reposado tequila

Use an oaky reposado instead of brandy along with red wine, citrus slices, and spices.

Margarita with white wine

Swap out the triple sec for an aromatic white like Riesling or Albariño. Keep it tart with lime juice.

Red wine spritzer with blanco tequila

Mix tequila with red wine, soda water, and a squeeze of citrus for a light, refreshing cooler.

Paloma with sparkling rosé

Use dry sparkling rosé instead of grapefruit soda, along with lime, tequila, and a pinch of sea salt.

Tequila Sunrise with orange Muscat

Replace the grenadine with the sweet, orangey flavors of Muscat dessert wine.


While tequila may seem like an unlikely wine partner on the surface, its complex aromas and flavors can indeed be complemented by the right wine selection. Focus on medium to full-bodied dry wines with fruit depth, oak or herbaceous notes, and aromas that align with the tequila’s flavor profile. Work from varietals native to tequila’s origin like Spanish Tempranillo or South American Malbec. White wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Albariño can match blanco tequilas, while Grenache, Zinfandel and Port pair beautifully with aged tequilas like extra añejos. With the diverse wine options available, there are many perfect pairings to be enjoyed when sipping tequila. The possibilities for delicious combinations are extensive. ¡Salud!