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Worthy Wines to Pair with Fiery Chilli

wine to drink with chilli


Nothing beats internal heating like breaking out the chilli! Versatile all year round and brilliant for informal gatherings, big group get-togethers or mid-week suppers, we particularly love chilli when the weather turns chilly! But what to match with a spice that can be all dominating? We recommend a judicious use of chilli: don’t let the dish be overwhelmed by the heat, as it will overpower any other flavours on your palate. Whilst many will be reaching for a beer at this point, we find that the carbonation exaggerates the heat and spice and as such, our hands are reaching out for still wines …

All the wines listed below can be purchased here

Classic Chilli-Con-Carne

Click here for our favourite chilli recipe
Credit: Delicious Magazine

Any big flavour dish works better with a generous amount of fruit in the glass. Classic Chilli-Con-Carne has the savoury tang of meat and fat, and so a wine with tangy tannins can easily cut through this. Classic pairings would be red rich Tempranillo or Côtes du Rhône blends – or their new world GSM equivalents, but don’t discount something chilled to quench your thirst.

Moke’s Notes
These are our top four suggestions:

  • Classic oak aged Tempranillo: the savoury sweet spice from American oak and tart cherry fruit makes for a delicious pairing;
  • The Côtes du Rhône siblings in both their red and rosé guises are abundant with fruit and the tang of tannin and zing of acidity respectively;
  • . . . but the winning white grape award definitely goes to New World Pinot Gris! One of our favourites for this dish is from Snapper Rock in Marlborough. It has just the right amount of residual sugar to quelle the fire of the chilli, but plenty of fruit to stand up to the complexity of the dish making it a top match for chilli-con-carne!


Recipe Inspiration: Chili-NON-Carne

Let’s not forget how versatile Chilli can be: for our vegetarian and vegan friends, Chilli-Non-Carne can still pack a punch offering a slightly different array of flavours. Here we see far more vegetal notes, often with tomato dominating the dish.  Sangiovese complements the tangy tomato from the grapes natural primary flavours of roasted tomato, cherry, oregano, and sweet balsamic characteristics. 

Moke’s Notes
Our top four pairing suggestions:

  • We recommend this vegan blend from Tuscany, Maremma Toscana from Tenuta Aquilaia as a starting point. Taking a little turn away from CDR/GSM blends, we also love the tang of Spanish Garnacha with tomato dominated dishes, especially with the hit of Cumin. 
  • The cheeky little Organic (and vegan) Garnacha from Bodegas Borsao is a brilliant wine to share amongst a crowd, with it’s vibrant acidity, soft tannins and lush fruit hitting the mark; 
  • . . . but equally, if you prefer something with greater depth and weight, Tres Picos Garnacha ‘Old Vine’ from the same Bodegas is the wine for you: the velveteen mouthfeel demonstrates the immense fruit concentration and the wine is utterly beguiling!
  • While the rosé and white previously noted will work a treat with our non-carne version, another white to consider is the lovely ripe aromatic but bone dry is Villa Raiano’s Falanghina. The taut acidity and mineral texture of the wine matches brilliantly with tomato sauces, while the grapes’ savoury character and light floral notes work wonderfully with the spice and variety of vegetal notes.

Nacho Nights

Now you’ve made a big batch of chilli, what’s not to love about ‘Friday Night Nachos’ partnered with a glass or two of your favourite wine? Jamie Oliver has the suggestion for nachos four ways: each bringing its own epic flavours bursting out of the crispy pan. These are our suggestions for wines that will  ‘pimp each up’ in Jamie’s words. 

Classic Beef Chilli, Melted Cheese & Jalapeños

GIVE IT A GO: Jamie Oliver’s Epic Nacho’s, 4 Ways

Jamie says: “Beef chilli nachos are seriously indulgent and incredibly tasty. Make up a batch of chilli in advance – it’s even better left over from the day before – then reheat and spoon on top. Grate over some cheese, pop it all under the grill until the cheese has melted, then finish with sliced jalapeños and dollops of super-fresh minty yoghurt dip. Your carnivore companions won’t be able to stop themselves!”

Moke says: Picking two wines from Wildeberg’s brilliant Coterie range, the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc offers the vibrancy of Sauvignon and weight of Semillon to handle the kick from the Jalapeños. Whilst their red Grenache Syrah blend is dominated with lush, ripe Grenache, backed up with firm Syrah that seriously complement the meaty, savoury beef chilli. Both brilliant and hard to choose between the pair, so we suggest both!

Veggie Chilli, Chunky Guacamole and Salsa (Vegan)

GIVE IT A GO: Jamie Oliver’s Epic Nacho’s, 4 Ways

Jamie says: “Spiced roasted sweet potato, sweet peppers and beans in a rich tomato sauce, all ladled on top of nachos makes this an epic meat-free dish. Finish it with dollops of chunky guacamole, a zingy tomato salsa and lime wedges for a real Mexican vibe – perfect for dunking.”

Moke says: The Classic Style Grüner Veltliner from Vitikulture Moser offers refreshing crisp acidity to cut through the richness of the avocado and citrus notes that match the tanginess of the salsa’s onion and coriander, a really tasting pairing!

Tomato, Olive and Feta (Vegetarian)

GIVE IT A GO: Jamie Oliver’s Epic Nacho’s, 4 Ways

Jamie says: “Go Greek and liven up your nachos with ripe slabs of tomato and cucumber, finely sliced onion, olives and crumblings of salty feta. Finished with oregano, fresh mint and a good drizzle of olive oil, this reconstructed Greek salad is colourful, fun and a real crowd-pleaser.”

Moke says: These magical Mediterranean flavours are complemented by the flavours of full bodied Bandol Rosé from Domaine Lafran-Veyrolles. Warm southern herbs, white pepper spice and soft berry fruit are a match made in heaven!

Smashed Black Beans, Chunky Guacamole & Salsa  (Vegetarian)

GIVE IT A GO: Jamie Oliver’s Epic Nacho’s, 4 Ways

Jamie says: “Loading your nachos with mix and match dips is a great way to get a little (or a lot) of what you love. Try mashing black beans until smooth, then dolloping them onto one corner of your nachos. Follow with a dollop of guacamole on another corner, some tomato salsa on another and thick crème fraîche over the last corner, then let your friends dunk and load their combos however they want.”

Moke says: Focusing on the savoury, earthy flavour of the smashed black beans, a brilliant pairing will be Paco Mulero’s vegan Spanish red, Prisma Organic Monastrell. Like the Bandol before, Monastrell dominates the blend with its meaty, savoury, herbaceous characteristics, but with enough ripe, juicy fruit to lighten the load.

All the wines listed above can be
purchased here

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