Most people think of drinking a beer while enjoying a bowl of chili, but wine deserves a place on the table as well. Regardless of how spicy, meaty or bean-focused your chili might be, there is a wine out there that will work nicely. Spicy chili dishes call for wines with softer tannins and meatier full-flavored versions beg for a wine with texture and juicy concentration. Below is a list to get you started:
Lang and Reed 2021 Rose of Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley: Made with organically farmed estate fruit, this wine has elegant stone fruit and citrusy aromas with a pinch of sweetness followed by a rich and textured palate. Rose is a great wine choice for chili—it adds a refreshing finish to every spicy bite.
Coto de Imaz Rioja Gran Reserva 2016: This is a succulent and silky tempranillo from a venerated Spanish producer. The soft black cherry and spice notes on the palate are a nice match for a meatier chili.
Granbazán Albariño Limousin, 2019: Albarino is an excellent choice for spicy food pairings because the varietal delivers rich tropical notes over a minerally structure. This one is aged in oak for six months to add even more texture, richness and structure. Orange peel, stone fruits and a marvelous beeswax finish make this one perfect for sipping before dinner and during the meal.
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico, 2018: A delicious sangiovese-based wine with elegant tannins and notes of violet, black cherry, plum, and tobacco. You’ll feel good too, knowing that 100% of Ruffino’s estate vineyards have been certified by the World Biodiversity Association and its entire portfolio will be certified sustainable by 2025.
Edio Vineyards, Frank’s Rhone Blend, 2020: A juicy, richly woven red blend of mourvedre, grenache and syrah grown just outside the Lake Tahoe region in California’s high-elevation El Dorado wine country. Heaps of blue and black fruit with notes of warm spice and cedar on the palate play well with the wine’s polished tannins. A classy pairing for stews, roasts and of course, chili.
Bodegas Ego ‘Infinito’ 2016: A sumptuous red blend of monastrell, syrah, petit verdot and cabernet sauvignon from Spain’s Jumilla region. Juicy and dense with flavor, this is a grand bargain wine to pop and pour with weeknight fare like chili.
Domaine Red, Grand Valley Colorado, 2020: This medium-to-full bodied red received a Double Gold award from Sunset Magazine’s International Wine Competition. It’s made sustainably and is a nice reflection of the quality of Colorado wines. Crafted from a blend of petite pearl, verona and mourvedre, the palate shows black cherry and spice with slightly dusty tannins—a nice pairing with a bowl of chili.
Feudo Montoni Perricone del Core Sicilia DOC, 2020: Perricone is a lesser-known red grape varietal cultivated in Sicily and this expressive, dense red wine come packed with blue-black fruit notes, cassis and cocoa. The wine’s wild, slightly rustic edge and polished tannins makes it a hearty companion to a really meat-focused chili.
Teliani Valley Saperavi, Georgia, 2020: From the nation of Georgia, where winemaking dates back centuries, this lushly ripe red brims with notes of black cherry and raspberry notes. It’s fresh and juicy, the perfect foil for a bowl of spicy chili. Made from 100% Saperavi grapes — a native Georgian varietal.
Stoller Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 2021: For $25 it’s hard to beat this pinot noir for quality-meets-value. Soft aromatics, modest tannins, gentle raspberry fruit notes and a generous finish make it an easy, fuss-free pairing choice.
3 Steves Winery Three Cabs Blend, Livermore, CA: Steve Ziganti, owner and winemaker, loves this blend of the rare varietal Cabernet Pfeffer (Cabernet Pfeffer is a very rare varietal only grown in a few vineyards in California), Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. The bright and juicy aromatics come with a playfully spicy finish goes well with spicy, meaty foods.
Vertice Apalta Vineyard, Colchagua Valley, 2019: This succulent 50/50 blend of carmenere and syrah from one of Chile’s most prestigious appellations brims with cassis, blackberries and intriguing notes of violet and dried herbs. Its velvety texture and soft tannins make it a natural fit for spicy dishes such as chili.
Podere San Cristoforo Petit Verdot, 2018: Located on the western edge of Tuscany in the Maremma region this winery farms all vineyards biodynamically. Here, vineyards are rimmed by ancient cork trees and olive groves to maintain biodiversity, and only natural inputs are used. This luscious petit verdot comes from a unique parcel and delivers notes of black cherry and spice with a savory spine of freshness that reflects the vineyard’s gravelly soils.
Coltassala, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG, 2019: Crafted with fruit from 100% organic vineyards, this classically styled Chianti is made with indigenous clones of Sangiovese that have over time proven to perform best on the vineyard site. This is a well-structured, complex wine with an elegant nose and hints of vanilla, cacao and fruit. Black cherry notes and warm spice round out the palate—a great one to savor all night long over dinner.