Update, September 28, 2020: A good idea is a good idea, and the Canadian public sure made that clear to Taco Bell. After the fast food chain announced that it would be collaborating with an Ontario vineyard on a bottle of Taco Bell house wine, Jalapeño Noir, the response across the internet was a resounding “LET’S DO THIS.” As Wine Spectator recently revealed, the wine sold out on Taco Bell Canada’s website the very first day it became available—all 33 cases were snatched up within 11 minutes of its digital debut.
While Taco Bell had intended this product to be kind of a one-off thing, a mere pairing for its new and much-hyped Toasted Cheesy Chalupa, the strong showing has made execs think twice. Per Wine Spectator:
“I think having this toasted cheesy chalupa with aged cheddar and associating it with a well-known winery in the area is really a special promotion,” Kat Garcia, director of brand marketing at Taco Bell, told Unfiltered. “We intended this to be limited-edition, but given the coverage and the interest, we’re very open to acquiring more wine if we can.” (The winery told us they’re working on another run of the bottling for the Bell.)
Original post, September 14, 2020: Here at The Takeout we try to keep our ears to the ground when it comes to updates from fast food franchises. Sometimes it’s because they can’t stop embarrassing themselves, other times because their leadership commit acts that can only be described as baldly inappropriate. But then, on occasion, a brand does something weird and potentially awesome, like Taco Bell announcing that it will begin selling a Canadian-grown pinot noir aptly named “Jalapeño Noir.”
As reported by CNN, in Canada Taco Bell will begin selling a limited-edition pinot noir designed to be paired with its Toasted Cheesy Chalupa, which “complements notes of wild strawberry, cherry and beetroot in this silky limited-edition red wine.” The wine, which comes from a vineyard in Ontario, Canada will cost $25 Canadian (around 19 bucks USD).
This move is pretty interesting. Mexican cuisine, at least in the United States, is often portrayed as being suitable for pairing with beer or soda, but not with wine, which is both untrue and also pretty lazy. Having a fast food chain explicitly pair its fast food version of a Mexican dish with pinot noir suggests to a broad audience that wine can—and should!—be served with Mexican cuisine, and this is broadly democratizing.
Plus, as displayed on the bottle pictured at Taco Bell Canada’s Twitter account, this bottle is vintage 2018 and was made in St. David’s Bench, a wine producing sub-region in Ontario known for “early warming in spring, gently sloping bench [a strip of land that runs along the top of a slope], generous precipitation.” The fact that Taco Bell is using Canadian wine, and not something imported, is sort of nice. Now, if we can only convince Canada to allow us to visit “Cheesy Chalupa Estates”...