5 Wines from Spain Paired With Paella: Red, White, Cava, Rosado?

What pairs with paella?

This seafood saffron infused treat from Valencia Spain is rice that is cooked over an open fire which uses orange and pine branches as well as pine cones; this aromatic smoke infuses the paella. Cooking on the grill outside when it is too hot to be inside makes it excellent summer fare. You can also cut back on dinner dishes if you serve it the traditional way where you eat directly out of the paellera!

But what pairs well with these rich complex flavors? We set out to find out!

Gretel offered to cook and we said YES, of course! I bought fresh halibut and shrimp from the local fish market and clams from the Jolly Oyster,  Sue and Gretel came up with the rest of the ingredients, and Sue put together a cheese plate. John joined us, too. And away we went!


Cheese plate
Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper, 8 month aged Raw El Trigal Manchego, 3 month Manchego, cured Spanish ham

When making paella, it is all about the stock which is absorbed into the rice. Take some time and make your own stock with the shells from your seafood. We used fresh halibut caught in the Santa Barbara Channel that I bought from the fish market at the Ventura Harbor, and I made a fish stock with the bones. What a wonderful carrier of flavor for the dish!

2018 – Marques de Caceres – Rioja Rosé  – 13.5% alcohol
96% Tempranillo, 4% Garnacha tinta
This wine was a sample for my review consideration.

Color: Carnation pink that catches the light nicely.

Nose: Engaging with fresh cherry, florals of honeysuckle, jasmine, rose, carnation, and clove. We got more out of the nose in a Prosecco glass; it really makes the nose so much more interesting that in a regular white wine glass.

Palate: Fresh bright fruit up front, tangerine. A relatively short finish, with lemon lime and tangerine pith.

A mellow easy poolside summer sipper.

Pairing: Pair this rosé with poolside, happy hour, wine, and by the beach with nice mellow cheeses… but not paella…

Result? Pool YES! Paella NO!

Marques de Caceres – Cava Brut
This wine was a sample for my review consideration.

Appearance: Very small delicate bubbles, slow and easy coming up to the top of the glass, pale straw.

Nose: Mild minerals like a seabreeze. In a sauvignon blanc glass there is a bit of pineapple on the nose.

Palate: Citrus, Meyer lemon, light yeast that hits mid palate, it is not very lively.

Pairing: Great with all three of the cheeses, fabulous with the seafood. Great pairing with the paella: so nice and clean with the dish. It brings out the light seafood qualities of the wine. It is fresh clean and light when the two are dancing together.

Result? PAELLA YES! 

Xion – Rias Baixas – Albarino – 13.5% alcohol – 13.5% alcohol – SRP around $20
This wine was a sample for my review consideration.

Color: Yellow with a greenish tint.

Nose: Lemon grass, honeysuckle, bee pollen, a bit of the ocean breeze.

Palate: Really nice mouth feel, silky viscous, nice roundness that bounces around the palate,  nice  acidity, white peach or white nectarine,

We like Albarino– it is such a good value! Hard to go wrong with an Albarino!

Pairing:  But unfortunately this Albarino did not stand up to the robust flavors of the paella — it just doesn’t show well not show well with the saffron richness. Sue felt that the Albarino brought out more of the ocean flavors. It cleanses the palate getting it ready for more of the seafood. We had a discussion about what you want for your palate with paella. The Albarino brings out salinity and the essence of the sea.

Result: Albarino YES! With Paella? Maybe Not!

Then Sue predicted that the Godelia was going to bring out a nice buttery cleanliness and be the winner with the paella… and was she right?

2015 – Godelia – Dona Blanca
This wine was a sample for my review consideration.
80% godello, 20% Dona Blanca

Color: Pale straw,

Nose: Light oak without food, there is not anything exceptional about the nose on this wine. With food there is so much more.

We think your typical Chardonnay glass is a good choice for serving this wine.

Palate: Nice creaminess, there is a bit of bitterness in the back of the throat possibly a bit of pith. It is very reminiscent of Chardonnay. The wine spent five months on lees, and so there is a creaminess in the wine that works well with the creamy rich flavors of the food. Good acidity.

Pairing: Would go great with rich creamy foods. This was a very nice pairing, The rich creamy richness of the paella went so nicely with the wines. With the paella there was so much more to this wine.

Result: Sue was right– Paella YES YES YES! 

2012 – Godelia – Mencia – 14.5% alcohol
This wine was a sample for my review consideration.

There is an article on wine folly that can introduce you to this grape.

12 months in fine oak

Bierzo Dominaccone Origen

Color: Blood red, orangish brick ring,

Nose: There is a bit of oak, which masks the fruit,

Palate: There is a grippiness to the wine, When tasting this wine without food, it is not very engaging. Without the food there isn’t much that stands out about this wine, however with the paella it was so wonderful. the mouthfeel is still there and it longs for the rich creaminess of the seafood and the  rice. It was so, so fantastic with the  chorizo bite in the paella. It reminded us of a table wine.

Pairing: The wine got better when paired with an aged manchego, great with salt cured olives which brings out a nice cherry fruit and mellows, I wanted a burger and blue cheese with this wine. This wine needs the richness of the saffron, the creaminess of the olive oil, and the chorizo. This wine did not pop without this meal; without the paella, this was just the ordinary table wine before it was paired with this meal. The chorizo and the richness of the meal makes this wine.

Result: Paella YES!!

2011 – Castano Dulce – Monastrell – 16% alcohol
This wine was a sample for my review consideration.

Sue: “Who says you need dessert when you have this wine?”

.The acids in this wine make it such a wonderful change up in the meal.

Gretel: “a dessert in a glass”.

Chocolate, cedar, amber, petrol, grapiness,

What is it about this wine that was holding us so fascinated? EVERYTHING!

Gretel said, “My grandmother used to have prune juice to  stay regular. This wine does have some of that prune to it , but it is not a bad thing, it is kind of comforting.”

Gretel liked this wine so much she wanted to put the cork on and sneak it home.

This is exactly what you want in a dessert wine.

Me: “It is so fu@#$&n beautiful.”

John dipped his cookies in the wine just as you would a cookie in milk.

Result? We did not try this with paella– but this wine is so good, it just might work!

So here are a few ideas for you!

Looking for more wines from Spain, particularly Rioja, to pair with food on and the grill? Check back with the #WinePW crew this Saturday July 12!


4 thoughts on “5 Wines from Spain Paired With Paella: Red, White, Cava, Rosado?

  1. A beautiful exploration of pairing ideas for Paella. I totally agree with you about Godello for this seafood Paella. My favorite is As Sortes, crafted by Raul Perez. If you are making the dish with Chicken & Chorizo, I like the Reserva Riojas of Remelluri. Superb!

    Liked by 1 person

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