Top pairings | The best food pairings for white rioja

Top pairings

The best food pairings for white rioja

White rioja is tricky when it comes to wine pairing as it comes in such contrasting styles. There are the crisp fresh unoaked white riojas which behave much like a sauvignon blanc and much richer barrel-fermented ones which can tackle more intensely-flavoured fish and meat dishes

The latter are more characteristic of the region but even these vary depending on the age of the wine. Young ones behave much like a chardonnay with food, older ones - and white rioja does age magnificently - more like a white Rhône

Here are some of my favourite pairings:

Crisp unoaked white rioja

simply grilled fish and shellfish

garlicky prawns or grilled squid


Spanish-style salads

Barrel-aged white riojas of 2-3 years old


serrano and other Spanish ham

salt cod dishes such as croquetas

menestra (spring vegetable stew) and other braised vegetable dishes

paella and other rice dishes with saffron

dishes with aioli (garlic mayonnaise)

white asparagus

tortilla and other savoury egg dishes

More mature barrel-aged riojas

rich fish dishes such as roast turbot

hake with garlic and clams

grilled tuna

robust fish stews

grilled lobster and other rich lobster dishes like this experimental dish of lobster and sweetcorn

roast chicken, turkey or guineafowl

sautéed chicken dishes with sherry

chicken or pork dishes with creamy sauces

grilled pork or veal chops

Full-flavoured sheeps cheeses like this rosemary coated ewe’s milk cheese

Also see these excellent suggestions from Vina Tondonia

See also The best food pairings for red rioja

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