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Pairings

Pairings

Which wine to drink with paella?

Which wine to drink with paella?

If you’re a bit hesitant about the idea of matching fish and red wine you might automatically think of pairing paella with a white wine. But I think it goes just as well with a rosé or a red.

Recipes vary - and are much argued over - but typically the dish will include chicken or rabbit, prawns, mussels or clams, red peppers, pimenton and saffron-flavoured rice. Some Latin-American versions - and Simon Hopkinson's* (see below) - also include spicy sausage but in general it’s more a savoury than a spicy dish and the seafood note isn’t dominant.

It’s also typically eaten at a relaxed sort of family gathering so I wouldn’t advocate anything too grand. A chilled dry rosé from Navarra or Rioja (one of the more traditional bottlings, not the more fruit driven rosés made in a New World style) generally hits the spot perfectly but there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t drink an inexpensive red Rioja or other medium-bodied Tempranillo or Grenache or Grenache blend (again lightly chilled till cool rather than at room temperature). But I'd avoid 'fruit-bombs' or overly alcoholic, tannic reds.

Looking outside Spain, reds and rosés from the neighbouring Languedoc-Roussillon would work well as would the new wave of characterful Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier-based Languedoc whites if white wine is your preference.

What you need to look for in a white is an earthy richness rather than a sharp citrussy or floral character so I personally wouldn’t go for the crisp unoaked style of white Rioja that's popular. Or for a Rueda. (You'll enjoy them more, I think, with simply prepared fried or grilled seafood on its own.)

Incidentally there's a good paella recipe from the new Simon Hopkinson series last night in the Channel 4 scrapbook here.

Image © HLPhoto - Fotolia.com

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Comments: 3 (Add)

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mike on March 23 2013 at 14:49

clyde,
lighten up. like portuguese bachalua, there are several hundred different recipes, as every region, town or family had their own version.
so typically, as with most paella's ordered in a restaurant in a particular
area, that recipe would be the typical type dish. the area where I live, the typical paella is with seafood and chicken and chorizo.

Fiona Beckett on December 26 2012 at 08:36

That may be true but paella seems to have as many interpretations as cassoulet and is certainly often served outside Spain with chicken and seafood.

SC Clyde on December 26 2012 at 04:38

You are incorrect as to your assertion and implication that " typically (paella) will include chicken, prawns, mussels or clams, red peppers, pimenton and saffron-flavoured rice." A true Spanish paella will include meat OR seafood but NEVER both.

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