Top pairings | Which wine to drink with paella?

Top pairings

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 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 garnacha (grenache) or garnacha blends (again lightly chilled till cool rather than at room temperature). But I'd avoid 'fruit-bombs' or overly alcoholic, tannic reds.

Looking outside Spain, lighter 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 I look for in a white with paella is an earthy richness rather than a sharp citrussy or floral character so I personally wouldn’t go for a sauvignon blanc or a riesling. (You'll enjoy them more, I think, with simply prepared fried or grilled seafood on its own.)

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Comments: 9 (Add)

Warren on April 24 2021 at 17:14

There's always a Clyde

Daniel on November 7 2018 at 09:34

You will be more than welcome Fiona. Particularly for the Paella Valenciana I tend to pair it with Monastrell (Mourvedre) or some Garnacha (not specially fruity), but I guess that it also may work well with some oaked chardonnay or aged champagne or cava.

Fiona Beckett on November 7 2018 at 06:30

Well, Daniel - yours sounds the BEST version. Have always wanted to go to Valencia. Now I must!

Daniel on November 6 2018 at 23:22

I am Spanish from Valencia, the original hometown of Paella Valenciana; and this is ONLY meat. Chicken + Rabbit + vegetables + snails (surprise?!). It is very true that if you go to other areas of Spain you may find it mixed, specially in the touristic areas., but in Valencia - the hometown of Paella - mixing meat and fish is a Sin!!!

Fiona Beckett on January 12 2017 at 10:21

It is EXACTLY that kind of dish. Same with recipes like bouillabaisse and cassoulet. Which colour of rosé do you like?

The Chef on January 12 2017 at 09:46

Every paella I've ever eaten, albeit in Spain or elsewhere, has always included BOTH seafood and chicken. Just about every region and family has its own recipe and there is no rule saying you can't mix chicken and seafood -- in fact, most people do exactly that and the end result is heavenly. Great pairing advice Fiona. My preferred wine pairing with paella is Rioja; they go together perfectly.

mike on March 23 2013 at 14:49

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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