Top pairings | 6 of the best Spanish wines to pair with tapas

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6 of the best Spanish wines to pair with tapas

It shouldn't come as a massive surprise that Spain can provide any style of wine you might fancy to drink with tapas.

Which to choose depends of course on your own personal taste and on the type of food you’re serving. Tapas can embrace everything from a few nuts and olives to more elaborate hot dishes like mushrooms and meatballs but here are the six wines I think work best.

Sherry*

Being a sherry fan I was bound to put it at the top of the list but in my view you can’t beat a good, freshly opened, well-chilled fino with the basic tapas of almonds, olives, manchego (cheese) and jamon. (Especially jamon!) Though with hot tapas like chorizo, mushrooms and meatballs (albondigas) I’d choose an amontillado. Waitrose has got a particularly good range under the Solera label.

Cava

Spain’s sparkling wine has suffered a bit of a hit since consumers switched to prosecco to the extent that it’s now both under-priced and underrated. It’s also a really good match for fried tapas such as chipirones (squid) and croquetas.

Rosado

Rosado is the Spanish name for rosé. Most comes from Rioja and neighbouring Navarra and is generally stronger and deeper in colour than those from Provence, which means it can cope with big flavours like spicy chorizo and allioli. Another good all-rounder.

Rueda

If you like sauvignon blanc you’ll like Rueda - in fact that’s what it's sometimes contains although it’s more often based on the local verdejo which tastes very similar. Not all are good - they can have a coarse, catty taste about them - but the best are deliciously fresh and zesty. (Beronia does a good one which is stocked by Waitrose)

Rioja

I’m not talking about aged rioja here but young vivacious joven and crianza riojas that haven’t spent much time in barrel. They’re cheaper than the more mature reservas and gran reservas too. A good option for meatier tapas and for winter drinking.

Mencia

Perhaps the only one of these wines you might not be familiar with. It comes from Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra in the north-west of Spain and has a similar fruity character to Beaujolais. A good quaffing red for summer drinking, it would be good with cecina (cured beef), jamon iberico or indeed anything porky. (If you like it you’ll probably enjoy Bobal too)

* If you’d like to know more about sherry pairings download my book 101 Great Ways to Enjoy Sherry now.

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