While you might reach for a beer or mix up a batch of margaritas to accompany these grilled shrimp tacos (and either would be great), a wine that plays with the flavors might surprise you. Each of these whites boasts good acidity to balance the flavors in the slaw, while cutting through the richness of the shrimp.
Recipe by Joe Gray
Mix together 1/4 cup lime juice, 2 ounces blanco tequila, 1 tablespoon canola oil, 1 jalapeno, minced, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; reserve one-third. Pour the remainder into a zip-close plastic bag; add 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined. Marinate 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the slaw, mix 2 cups shredded red cabbage, 2 green onions, chopped, 1 poblano pepper, thinly sliced, 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon canola oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Drain shrimp, discarding marinade. Thread on skewers; grill over medium heat, turning once and brushing with the reserved marinade, 5-6 minutes total. Serve in tortillas topped with slaw and sprinkled with Tajin or chili powder. Makes 8 tacos.
Pairings by sommelier Rachael Lowe of Spiaggia, Chicago
2013 Ravines Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, N.Y.: The winery, overlooking Seneca Lake, has a cool growing season that makes for grapes with wonderful structure and acidity. This riesling is bone dry and shows notes of underripe pineapple, apricot and tangerine rind. It has zippy, lemony acidity, which will do a good job of balancing the dressing of the vegetable slaw.
2011 Ostertag Fronholz Pinot Gris, Alsace, France: Andre Ostertag produces stunning biodynamic wines that exemplify the grapes he chooses to showcase. His pinot gris from Fronholz is from slightly higher-elevation vineyards planted in chalk and sand. Aromas of honeysuckle, Bosc pear and white peach are balanced with lovely acidity and texture, which will stand up well to the hint of heat from the jalapeno, while the richness will wrap around the texture of the shrimp.
2011 Amizade Godello Monterrei, Galicia, Spain: This wine was fermented in stainless steel and then aged on the lees for six months, giving it a rich texture. Produced close to the sea, with cooler weather, it shows aromas of green apple, underripe pear, lime blossom and a hint of salty minerality, which will be a perfect complement to the dish’s pepper and cilantro, as well as the seafood.