Last Updated: August 2, 2022
The national dish of Valencia, paella is one of the most popular Spanish culinary offerings. It is naturally varied, containing meat, seafood, vegetables, rice, and the prized ingredient – saffron.
With different flavors depending on the specific version of paella, – Valenciana, Mixta, Marinara, Negra, or Vegetariana – you can pair this dish with wine.
With the long list of wines available, choosing which one goes well with paella can be confusing, especially if you are not a vino connoisseur.
If you are clueless about the best paella wine pairing, we got you! Take your culinary journey to the next level by finding the perfect wine accompaniment for a delicious paella.
- The Best Paella Wine Pairing
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- Frequently Asked Questions
The Best Paella Wine Pairing
With too many wine pairing options, choosing the right one can be a struggle. If you cannot decide what to pick, read on and learn from some of our recommendations.
For Paella Valenciana
If you want to taste traditional paella, then you cannot go wrong with Valenciana. It was created by Valencian farmers and peasants. It has a wide range of ingredients, but it does not contain seafood.
Originally, the dish was called Arroz Ala Valenciana, but is known today as Paella Valenciana.
Also called Garnacha, it is under-appreciated compared to more popular red wines, such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. It is made of a dark-skinned grape variety from Northern Spain, specifically in the Aragon region.
Since paella Valenciana does not contain seafood, it is ideal for medium-bodied wines like Garnacha. It has higher acidity than tannin, which will make the flavors come out.
Avoid red wines with heavier bodies as they can overpower the flavors of ingredients like herbs bell peppers, and green beans. More so, the tannins can clash with tomatoes, which will taste metallic.
Another excellent red wine that you can enjoy with paella Valenciana is Pinot Noir. The plush tannins will make the creamy texture of the rice stand out.
Among others, one of our favorites is Bread & Butter Pinot Noir. It is fruit-forward and smooth, making it a paella pairing for those with meats.
For Paella Marinera
While the original version of the paella does not include any seafood, it does not mean that you should dismiss the seafood paella. When cooked in the traditional method, it can be equally delicious, especially if it includes the freshest ingredients available.
With flavors of the sea from ingredients like jumbo shrimp, lobster tails, and squid tentacles, seafood paella should not be paired with red wines.
Red wine has tannins that will create an unpleasant acidity, making the wine taste metallic. A good choice is something between red and white, so it is hard to go wrong with rosé.
One of the best wines for seafood paella that should be on your radar is the La Vieille Ferme Rosé. It is made from a combination of Cinsault, Syrah, and Grenache grapes. It has an almost ruby hue, which is different from the lighter colors of its French counterparts. The fruity, crisp, and dry flavors will make seafood paella stand out.
For those with adventurous taste buds, try something not as popular, such as Verdejo. It is a light-bodied vino, which grows almost exclusively in Spain. Its flavors are almost similar to Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.
For Paella Negra
A classic Spanish dish that is also known as black paella, the color is from the use of squid or octopus ink, which is also what gives its distinct flavor.
Other common ingredients include rice, dry white wine, shrimp, clam juice, onion, garlic, tomatoes, red bell pepper, lemon, and virgin olive oil.
A wine from Centra Europe, Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio has a classic and refreshing flavor, making it the perfect vino to enjoy when eating paella Negra on hot summer days.
It has an interesting taste profile, which is a result of the mutation of grapes used in making Pinot Noir. Its palate-grabbing texture will uplift the ingredients in a black paella.
Pairing paella with squid ink with sparkling wine is sure to be a treat for the taste buds. The versatility of this wine will make it the perfect accompaniment for almost any type of paella, including Negra.
It is a carbonated wine that can be made with either red or white grapes. Do not confuse this wine with champagne.
While the choices are endless, Bon Ami Brut is one of the best sparkling wines that you can pair with paella Negra. It uses grapes that are grown in clay-limestone soil in high-altitude vineyards, which contribute to a complex flavor reminiscent of pineapple and lemon zest.
For Paella Mixta
For those who are looking for an amalgam of flavors in a paella dish, then a good choice is paella Mixta.
The name stands for mixed since it uses several main ingredients, including chicken, Spanish chorizo, and seafood.
The best wine pairings for paella Mixta are those that you can drink with paella Valenciana.
We recommend something that has been fermented in the barrel for a while, which will make it powerful in the mouth.
Especially if it has strong flavors, you might want to consider Chardonnay.
Kendall-Jackson Vinter’s Reserve Chardonnay White Wine should be on your radar. For almost three decades, it is the best-selling Chardonnay in North America. The tropical flavors with citrus notes of this dry white wine will highlight the amalgam of flavors that you can taste in mixed paella.
For mixed paella wine pairings, Godello is a good pick. This white wine is from grapes grown on the northern Atlantic coast.
Because it is not as popular as other grapes, makers often have the freedom to put their spin on this wine.
It has briny lemon and grapefruit flavors, which will taste like heaven when consumed with mixed paella.
For Paella Vegetariana
Do you want to enjoy your paella while staying healthy? If yes, then you might want to try a vegetarian paella. It has no seafood or meat, but it does not mean that it runs short in terms of its flavor.
This saffron-flavored rice has olive oil, chickpeas, butter beans, green pepper, red pepper, and lots of vegetables that add colors to a paella pan while providing a complex taste.
A Spanish sparkling wine, the process of making Cava is like that of Champagne, but it uses a different grape variety.
The most common grape that is used in this wine is Macabeau, which has a lemon-like flavor and faint floral aromatics.
It is not usually sweet, which will make a great wine to complement the vegetable ingredients in a paella dish.
With its intense aromas, Riesling is a delicious wine that will make vegetarian paella taste even better.
A product of German heritage, this wine has fruit aromas from the likes of apricot, nectarine, pear, and apple. You can smell lime peel, jasmine, and honeycomb.
It has a high acidity on the palate, which can be reminiscent of lemonade.
If you are looking for Riesling to go with vegetarian paella, we recommend Dr. Loosen Riesling. It is a fruity and refreshing wine, making it a great pick if you are enjoying your paella on a hot day. The wine has a mix of peach, apricot, and melon flavors.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What wine would you drink with paella?
The choice of wine depends on the specific type of ingredients of the paella that you are eating. Mixed and seafood paella will pair well with rich white wines, such as chardonnay.
On the other hand, lighter wines like Pinot Noir are perfect for paella with duck or rabbit. A fruity red wine, meanwhile, is great for paella with strong flavors.
Do you use wine in paella?
Yes, you can use wine in paella, especially if you are looking for a complex flavor. Those from the Rioja region, including whites, rosés, and reds are the best choices because they are known for being food-friendly.
Paella is a delicious dish with complex flavors. From seafood to vegetarian, it has a mix of different ingredients that will explode in your taste buds. To make the taste even better, pair it with the right wine. The best choice depends on the specific type of paella, as well as the flavors that incorporate in the dish.
Are there other paella wine pairings that you would like to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!