Spanish wine and tapas are a match made in gastronomic heaven. A small bite of food with a sip of wine—can it get any better than that? Whether it's red, white, rosado, or sparkling, there is a perfect wine to pair with your favorite bite-sized treats.
Tasty Tapas Pairings
by Matthew Lorman
Spanish wine and tapas are a match made in gastronomic heaven. A small bite of food with a sip of wine—can it get any better than that? Whether it's red, white, rosado, or sparkling, there is a perfect wine to pair with your favorite bite-sized treats. The next time you go out for a round of tapas or throw a tapas party at home, impress your friends by knowing which wine goes best with these savory morsels. Check out these pairings for some Spanish inspiration. Salud!
Cava is brimming with flavors of lime, yellow apple, almond, and quince. This notoriously food-friendly sparkler can be paired with virtually any type of tapas thanks to its high acidity and fruit-forward flavors. Spanish sparkling wine goes great with salty or fatty dishes. Consider serving something deep-fried alongside a glass of Cava. The acidity and bubbles help cut the fat of fried foods, leaving your palate ready for the next piece. Additionally, salty foods work wonders, as they decrease and contrast the perception of acidity and turn the focus onto the fruit notes and body of the wine. For a perfect pairing, consider marinated Castelveltrano olives, Spanish croquetas, or calamares fritos.
Spanish rosado (rosé) is often darker in color compared to their pale salmon-colored counterparts from Provence, France. Depending on the region where these wines are produced, they can be made from a large variety of grapes. Monastrell (Mourvedre), Garnacha (Grenache), and Syrah rosados are common, and usually express more concentrated fruit notes. These fuller-bodied styles call for a more substantial food pairing. Consider rosados with tapas like pan con tomate, patatas bravas, and garlic shrimp with paprika. Spanish rosado plays nicely with the sweet heat from peppery spices such as paprika, which commonly pops up in many tapas recipes.
It would be impossible to talk about tapas and wine pairings without mention to Spain’s most popular red grape variety. Tempranillo takes on different names throughout the country, such as Ull de Llebre, Cencibel, Tino Fino, and Tinta del Pais, and produces a variety of styles. For the purposes of pairing, let’s consider lighter styles of Tempranillo. Look for wines labeled Joven or Crianza, which will have less oak influence and more fruit flavors like plum, raspberry, and black cherry. For a classic pairing, try out Tempranillo with a simple slice of Spanish chorizo. The fruitiness of the wine will counter the spicy kick from the chorizo. Other great pairings include stuffed piquillo peppers, empanadas, and albondigas (Spanish-style meatballs).
Grown primarily in the coastal region of Rías Baixas, this Spanish white grape variety has a natural affinity for tapas. Fruit flavors of lemon, grapefruit, and nectarine intertwine with a distinct salinity, thanks to the vineyards’ close proximity to the ocean. The minerality of Albariño makes it a great pairing with seafood dishes, such as gambas al ajillo, grilled scallops, and ceviche.
Shop DCanter to find unique wines to pair alongside your favorite tapas recipes. Did we forget to mention your favorite Spanish wine and tapas combo? We would love to hear from you! Stop by the shop or let us know your thoughts on Instagram (@DCanterwines).