Which wine is good with paella?
The initial answer to this often asked question is ´to each his own´, that whatever you like will do. But with the world of food and wine pairing offering so many possibilities, we cannot just leave it there. We are undeniably tempted to experiment and find our new favourite combinations. In this article, we will differentiate different styles of paella and cover wine matching for each of them.
Before we start with paella we understand you may be interested in Food and health. We all seem to get a feeling every now and then that are aging rapidly. We recommend you have a look at this video with interesting insights on the role of fermented vegetables and how they can improve your health. It is not what you eat but what you digest! CLICK HERE!
Now, back to paella. In this blog we are going to analyse 5 of the most traditional types of paella and their pairings with different wines. There are so many different types of paella, each with its own unique ingredients and cooking methods, that there are so many different possibilities. We begin with the mother of all paellas: ´Paella Valenciana´, or Valencian Paella.
Paella Valenciana and wine
Paella Valenciana is the star dish from which all other paellas owe their form. it originated in Valencia on the east coast of Spain. You can enjoy a top paella in Madrid or any other Spanish cities, but locals from Valencia claim nobody can match the quality of paella from Valencia. The paella is made with rice, chicken/rabbit meat, butter beans, sometimes pork in some form (either chorizo, pork loin pieces or chops), green beans, tomato, sweet pepper, olive oil, salt, and the magic ingredient, saffron.
The variability of ingredients used for this dish means that the Valencian Paella has many different wine pairing options, depending on which ingredients have been chosen. If the paella is very flavourful, it is best to pair it with a young and fruity red wine, served at a lower temperature (although not from the fridge). A good option for this type of paella would be a blend of the tempranillo and mencía grape.
White wine lovers should look for a white wine that is both powerful in the mouth and has spent some time fermenting in the barrel, such as a chardonnay, godello or verdejo. Classic Bordeaux style white wines, such as those elaborated at López Heredia in Haro, Rioja, would be suitable.
If the paella has more subtle flavours, however, we would decant a good rosé- one that has good balance of freshness and acidity. Navarra in particular is a master of these types of wines, but we could also open a rosé from Castilla La Mancha or Valencia, or a Cava sparkling wine from Catalonia.
Which wine with seafood paella
An alternative for those who do not like the landlocked combination of meat, vegetables and pulses, the seafood paella is the king of the sea. Comprised of squid, prawns, langoustine, mussels, clams and sometimes fish, this paella is a dish that usually has lighter flavours than its Valencian counterpart.
Due to its delicate flavours, the seafood paella requires a light and fresh wine that will not dominate its aromas. We would suggest choosing a white wine made from from the albariño, verdejo or sauvignon blanc grapes, particularly those that have not been fermented in a barrel. These wines should also be served well chilled, between 5 and 8ºC. Another interesting option would be a Txakolí or high quality Cava.
Paella mixta and wine
Mixing the ingredients of a Valencian and a seafood paella, the ´Mixed Paella´ is most usually found on the ´Menu of the Day´ for Thursdays, as well as being a popular choice for school lunch menus and beach menus thought out for tourists. The wines that we have highlighted for the Paella Valenciana would work best with these paellas.
Paella vegetariana or vegetarian paella
Made with rice, artichokes, asparagus, olives, mushrooms, palm hearts, broad beans, butter beans, red pepper, green pepper, onion, tomato, parsley, saffron, olive oil and salt.
This type of paella can be very tasty, despite its low fat content, and has all the nutrients of its vegetable ingredients. For this paella, we would suggest a fresh and light rose, a lightly sparkling wine (rose or white) or even a good Cava, that would provide a balanced and pleasant bouquet to accompany the flavours of the vegetable paella.
The ´black paella´ is a seafaring paella, which gains its black colour, consistency and characteristic flavour from squid or octopus ink. It is also not unusual to see this dish accompanied by a blob of ali-oli.
Because of its flavourful aromas and powerful ali-oli taste, we would recommend a white gewürztraminer wine, or a sparkling moscatel from the regions of Valencia or Alicante. A touch of sweetness from these grape varieties would complement both the delicate texture and slightly sharp taste of this paella wonderfully.
It is also important to think about when this paella is usually eaten when choosing a good wine. Most often a dish enjoyed by the sea, accompanied by hot weather and sea air, we would recommend a chilled bottle with a low alcohol content.
We hope that you enjoy picking out new wine selections to try with your paella dish, and exploring new taste and flavour combinations that will serve you for years to come. Enjoy!