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Feeling Spanish? A simple guide for pairing Spanish Food and Wine

Feeling Spanish? A simple guide for pairing Spanish Food and Wine

 I've always loved food and cooking - I like to serve myself a glass of wine, cut some cheese or open a jar of olives and start following a recipe. I enjoy how everything comes together, improvising if necessary, tasting along the process.. It feels great. I'm not the kind of person that needs a big group to cook ellaborate meals - I'll often do it just for myself or my wife. Needless to say, I also have lazy days where I don't feel like cooking or simply don't have the time.

As you might know - I was born and raised in Spain. Back then, on a lazy day, I would walk over to my neighborhood's supermarket, grab my daily loaf of bread (I like their "Gallega" loaf, which means Galician - The supermarket makes it in, suposedly, a typical Galician bakery style), a few slices of Jamon Serrano at the Charcuterie section, a small chorizo, a jar of olives, and some Manchego cheese. That's it - Delicious dinner ready in zero cooking time. Sublime.

Although some will argue that such strong flavors are meant to be tasted alone, I was taught differently. At home, my father would always pour some wine (Often Ribera del Duero or Toro, since we're from Valladolid) to accompany a dinner like that. Often we didn't even sit and would just stand up and talk while we went through all in a blast. Once you started, it was hard to stop.. In my family, it was also common to begin reunion dinners this way. It might be cultural, but I think it helps to break the ice, catch up and "warm up" for the main entrees that are about to come from the kitchen, where there's more eating and less talking (Although a Spanish family will really never stop talking while re-united around the table). To be honest, these are the moments that stick the most to my mind.

Since I relocated to the US I've done my fair share of research, try, and error with regards to sourcing ingredients, finding wines (ehem..Hi Del Duero!), and cooking Spanish food - I came to the US being a complete paella apprentice and, due to social pressure, I'd say I've become a pretty decent Paeller. I'll eventually to write up some advice on how I think about recipes, ingredients and, of course, wines, when I want to prepare a full Spanish experience for my family or friends. In the meantime, we've put together a simple, but effective, guide that will help you hit the perfect Spanish Wine + Food combination.

spanish wine types body

Spanish wine types by body

Spanish wine is incredibly versatile. Fresh white wines are perfect sippers during summer, and the country’s more robust reds will surely keep you warm in winter. Spanish wine can do it all, but it shines best when served at the table.

In Spain, there’s a wine style to match every type of food in the world, and with such a fantastic quality, this wine is a no-brainer at the table. 

Whether you’re looking for wine for a casual get-together or a special bottle for a memorable occasion, find all you need in the ultimate Spanish wine and food pairing guide.

Light-Bodied White Wine

There’s nothing like a crisp white wine to start a dinner party. Perfect aperitifs and the ideal wines to pair with starters and salads, these light-bodied Spanish white wines will start off the night nicely. 

Verdejo

Verdejo is a specialty in Rueda, a small region in Castilla y León. The wine’s citrusy personality and herbaceousness make it a fantastic wine with a lovely tang. Enjoy Verdejo with raw fish, sashimi, light salads and fresh cheese.

Albarino

Albarino is a sea-scented, refreshing wine, a specialty of Galicia’s humid Northwestern region. This is Spain’s quintessential white wine for seafood, from prawns to grilled whole fish. 

Full-Bodied White Wine 

Sometimes the right wine for dinner is a full-bodied white wine, primarily if you’re serving roasted birds, pork, veal, salmon or tuna. Here are some of the boldest white wines in the Spanish repertoire. 

Godello

This specialty from the regions of Monterrei, Ribeira Sacra, Valdeorras and Ribeiro, is a versatile grape, and it can become a structured, bold white wine to match roasted poultry and white meat. 

Viura 

Amongst the most popular white grapes in central Spain, Viura can do it all — it can even age in oak barrels to gain immense richness. A popular white wine in Rioja, Viura is amongst the noblest white grapes in the country. Intensely flavorful and with a coating palate, Viura is delicious with rice dishes like paella, white beans stews and potato tapas!

Light Bodied Red Wine 

If you’re into red wine, for white meat, salmon, prawns, lobster of tuna, you’re better off with a light-bodied Spanish red wine. Wines of elegance and finesse that will never disappoint.

Mencía

Mencía is hands-down the lightest and most elegant red wine in Spain. The grape grows in Galicia and is fantastic with mackerel, baby eels and grilled octopus. To satisfy your every seafood need, Mencía has your back. 

Full-Bodied Red Wine 

Now, for the main course, if you need wine for a thick, fatty steak, a hearty stew, a steamy casserole or a smoky barbecue, these are Spain’s full-bodied red wines. 

Garnacha Blends 

Catalunya has a vibrant wine and food scene, and there’s any wine style imaginable, from sparkling Cava to the region’s Garnacha blends famous in Priorat and surrounding regions. 

These robust red wines are fantastic with Butifarra sausages, white bean stews and a wide variety of hearty tapas from land and sea. 

Tempranillo 

Tempranillo is the king of Spanish red wines, and it’s grown everywhere in the country. The finest examples come from Rioja and Ribera del Duero but expect to be surprised by wines from other regions.

Tempranillo is perfect for pairing with hearty stews like the famous Cocido Madrileño. Dry-cured meat and sausages, including Chorizo, will also shine along with the structured red wine. Rabbit, wild boar and feathered game are also ideal when served with a glass of Tempranillo.

That's it for this simple guide. As promised, more to come!

Cheers!

Daniel, from Del Duero Wines.