Grilled Steak Tacos With Avocado Salsa Paired With Grilos Portuguese Red Blend 2008


I was in a taco mood yesterday! We all get taco cravings, and if you don’t you’re either a  liar or we’ll just simply never be friends.

These particular Grilled Steak Taco’s with Avocado Salsa use flank steak (otherwise known as the “butchers cut”), one of my favorite cuts of meat,. However you have to cook it just right, anything more than medium-rare and it’s going to end up super-tough and you’ll be chewing for weeks! This was actually a very cool little recipe, using three of my favorite ingredients: fresh cilantro, chorizo and of course the aforementioned flank steak.

As with most recipes I choose, I always run into at least one ingredient that I have a problem finding, in this case it was: queso panela or halloumi cheese. I had no ambition to ask the friendly store associate at Publix to point me in the direction of the queso panela or halloumi cheese section of the store; so I settled for sharp cheddar (although I didn’t grill it like the recipe asks for)…

I only have a small amount of experience in Portuguese wines that aren’t Port, so the Grilos Red Portugese Blend was an exciting find for me. The wine is a blend of three grapes: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro & Tinta Roriz, which all grapes that are permitted to be used in Port production. The wine showed dark black cherry, plum and mocha, medium in body, spicy finish with an almost oxidative quality (which I kind of liked). The alcohol on the wine is fairly restrained at 13%, so I thought it wouldn’t clash too much with the jalapenos in the dish. Unfortunately I was wrong. The wine matched great with the chorizo and flank steak, but completely overpowered the cilantro and avocado, and set my mouth on fire with the jalapenos.

The recipe from Food & Wine recommends pairing with a Spanish Tempranillo, but I honestly think that this dish needs white: dry German Riesling, Spanish Verdelho (or blend), or Austrian Gruner Veltliner, all with low levels of alcohol.

I did have a moment of inspiration when drinking this wine! I want to try it again with dessert! I’m thinking a big slice of dark chocolate cake with black cherries would match perfectly!

I’m going to rate this pairing as a BAD MATCH.

My Pairing Guide is something that everyone can use at home, and it makes each meal a fun interactive way to analyze how a wine matches with a particular recipe.

Bad Match

The interaction of wine and food when tasted together has a negative impact on the senses. This is common when the food item is high in acidity, salt, bitterness, or spiciness.


 Many times wine serves simply as a satisfying refreshment to accompany a certain food choice. The refreshment match may be appropriate when the food severely inhibits a good or synergistic wine choice.


These pairing situations are average and pleasant, but are missing an element of individuality and thus cannot provide a superior gastronomic experience.

Good Match

In this situation, you have found a wine that matches the food item’s basic components (sweet, sour, bitter, salty) and overall body.

Perfect Match

This essentially means the combined effect of the wine and the food paired together is superior to the sum of the individual parts.

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