What to drink with tapas
The closest result so far on one of our food and wine matching polls ended with rosado (Spanish rosé) and fino sherry neck and neck as the best match for tapas with 30% of the vote, closely followed by Rioja on 24% which had topped the poll for a good few days. Spain's sparkling wine, Cava, came fourth with 16% of the vote.
My own favourite pairings are fino or manzanilla sherry which seem to go admirably with almost every kind of tapa from tortilla to albondigas (meatballs), being especially good with salty tapas like almonds, olives and anchovies and with spicy chorizo sausage. If you’re not a fan it could be that you simply haven’t found a sherry that suits your palate or served it cold and fresh enough. Fino, like white wine, is best from a freshly opened, well chilled bottle. Good brands include Tio Pepe and La Ina.
The fact that rosado did equally well is testament both to the popularity of ros at the moment and the fact that Spain’s strong, dry ross (some of the best of which come from Navarra) stand up well to the robust flavours of tapas. They’re also very good with paella.
Rioja too, is an enjoyable match particularly if you’re eating meatier tapas like chorizo, kidneys in sherry and albondigas. In fact there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t kick off with sherry, rosado or a Spanish white like white Rioja or Rueda for that matter, with seafood tapas and switch to a red Rioja with meat or mushroom-based ones. I’d recommend a relatively youthful Rioja crianza for tapas, served cellar cool.
Why Cava did so poorly I’m not sure - whether you thought it was less versatile than the other options or simply are not overly impressed with the wine itself. I particularly like it with deep fried dishes such as croquetas, with fried fish and other seafood. Try one of the vintage Cavas that are widely available now if you haven’t been too impressed by Cava in the past.
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