Take Your Sweetheart to Spain: Recipes, Pairings, Organic White and Sparkling Wines for Valentines

Ànima Negra, Mallorca, in springtime Spain (photo courtesy of the winery)

Want to take your sweetheart to Spain for Valentine’s Day? We have ideas: an organic blend from the island of Mallorca? a Garnacha Blanca from northern Spain? Cava from Barcelona? All paired with Spain inspired dishes like mussels with smoke paprika and tomatoes (so sexy!), citrus salad with fennel, and of course, raw oysters plus tapas to start things off! 

Spanish Menu for Sweethearts  

Organic Spanish white Wines and Spanish lemon cookies

Organic Spanish Wines

  • 2018 Ànima Negra Quíbia, Mallorca, Spain 
  • 2020 Miranda de Secastilla Garnacha Blanca Somontano, Spain   
  • Vilarnau Brut Reserva d’Espiells, Spain
  • Vilarnau Brut Reserva Rosé d’Espiells Spain
  • all 4 organic wines are samples for my review 

2018 Ànima Negra Quíbia, Falanis, Mallorca, Spain

2018 Ànima Negra Quíbia, Falanis, Mallorca, Spain 

ABV: 12%
SRP: $20
Grapes: 60% Callet, 30% Premsal, 10% other local grapes like Giro Ros
Importer: Winebow
sample for my review

Story: Mallorca is a large island in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain where the Ànima Negra winery produces its wines on the 13th Century wine making estate of Son Burguera, close to the town of Felanitx in the south east… an estate founded in the 8th century. 

Ànima Negra Quíbia uses indigenous grapes like Callet and Premsal grown biodynamically meaning natural farming practices like dry-farming and avoiding chemical fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides that are fermented with indigenous yeasts. Callet brings texture and tartness, Premsal adds roundness, Giro Ros lends acidity, and the Mediterranean provides salinity. Vines are 50-85 years old and located less that six miles from the winery. Stainless steel tanks fermentation using native yeasts is followed by four months of lees aging.

Over ten years ago, the Slow Food Movement honored Ànima Negra with induction into the Ark of Taste. These natural, sustainable practices and accolades means that the wine Quibia lives up to its name which refers to a worry-free state of mind.  

Appearance:  Pale yellow, golden, gold jewelry, platinum rim

Aroma:  Fennel, fennel pollen, Meyer lemon, citrus blossom, violets, white flowers, jasmine, sand lilies, pear, seaside. The aromatic lovely florals linger, rising from the glass to entice the nostrils.

Palate: Tart and dry, fennel, Meyer lemon, grapefruit, grapefruit pith, smooth texture, wet stone, not quite ripe nectarine, white stone fruit, long lingering saline finish with capers, very pleasant, balanced, enjoyable. 

Pairing: Sue does not usually put lemon on oysters, but she decided to add a squeeze and it worked perfectly. The creamy Manchego cuts the tart acidity of the wine and the wine works well with the Spanish smoked cured meats.

The salad is a hit with the wine. The citrus brings it all together. There is a salinity in the wine and when paired with all of the layers of flavor in the salad there is such a rich fruit and floral in the wine.

While the tech sheets suggests pairing with bay scallops, langoustines, mussels in a butter broth, and seafood paella, we found the rich umami of the broth with the mussels overwhelmed the wine a bit, making the dish sweet even though it lacked sugar in the recipe (see below). Marshall called the Spanish lemon cookies a “lemon meringue pie in a cookie.”

2020 Miranda de Secastilla “La Miranda Blanca,” Somontano, Spain

2020 Miranda de Secastilla “La Miranda Blanca,” Somontano, Spain  

ABV: 13.5% 
SRP: $15
Grapes: 100% Garnacha Blanca
Importer: Gonzalez Byass
sample for my review

For the La Miranda Blanco 2020 at Secastilla,  grapes are grown at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains using traditional, organic viticulture with no chemicals as fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides, and grapes indigenous to the area such as Garnacha, Moristel, Parraleta and White Garnacha. As a transitional area between the the Mediterranean climate and the Euro-Siberian climate of the Pyrenees, “Quercus faginea” – gall oaks – surround the vineyards instead of holm oaks.  

Appearance:  Very pale yellow, clear, very pale rim, like a lemon with the surrounding pith

Aroma: Petrol, fennel, bee pollen, anise, chamomile, early morning citrus orchard, 

Palate: Very tart Eureka lemon, key lime, clean and refreshing on the palate, when you breathe in it is cooling, fresh morning air, herbal freshness as opposed to a minty freshness, very salivating, citrus blossom, jasmine, 

Pairing: Great with our Spanish cheese plate, loved the salami and the Manchego cheese, very nice with the smoked jamon and cured Spanish meats, loved the richness of the olives. Perfect with the salad: it loves the garlic, spicy arugula, fennel and oranges which mirror so many characteristics in the wine.

The wine and the mussels were over the top — the smoky paprika and tomato broth were fantastic with the wine.

Kathy said these were the best mussels that she had ever had in or out of a restaurant. Marshall agreed. Check out the recipe below and see for yourself!

organic cava from Vilarnau

Vilarnau Brut Reserva d’Espiells, Spain

ABV: 11.5%
SRP: $14.99
Grapes: 50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada, 15% Xarel.lo
Importer: Gonzalez Byass
sample for my review

Cava is a sparkling wine made in the traditional méthode champenoise, but using traditional Spanish grapes– and in this case, organic! The very festive Vilarnau bottles reflect their Catalan roots with the avant-garde imagery of Antoni Gaudí. 

Appearance:  Large perlage leading to smaller bubbles as the wine stays in the glass, pale yellow, pale straw 

Aroma: Light florals, a bit of brioche, green apple.

Palate: Jolly ranchers green apple, very foamy, caramel golden delicious apple, butterscotch, vanilla, lively on the palate, this is a fun party wine, fun to drink, full of vivacious flavor and texture. 

Pairing: The creamy oyster with just a touch of lemon was a perfect match for the wine. Great with the rich green olives, the Manchego was also great with the wine. The wine loves the spicy arugula the garlic and the citrus in the salad, such a nice complexity of flavors to go with this wine. The broth for the Spanish mussels were a perfect match with the wine. The kick in the spice from the meal changes the tart jolly ranchers apple to being a caramel apple. The wine loves the tart lemon in the cookie and while the cinnamon flavor is there it becomes very earthy and grounded. 

4 Organic Spanish Wines for Valentines

Vilarnau Brut Reserva Rosé grown near Vilarnau d’Espiells winery 

ABV: 12.0%
SRP: $15.99
Grapes: 85% Garnacha, 15% Pinot Noir
Importer: Gonzalez Byass
sample for my review

Appearance:  Very pretty, rose gold, persistent, lively bubbles, 

Aroma: Orange flowers, citrus, mixed bowl of fruit, hint of cherry, stone fruit, watermelon, 

Palate: Very flavorful, so much fruit, texturally bursting with flavor, the bubbles make it feel like pop rocks in the mouth, cranberry, tart cherry, another fun party wine. 

Pairing: The wine and the oyster become very cucumber and watermelon like.  The smoked cured Spanish meats were perfect with the wine, great with olives, perfect with the salad loving the fennel and arugula, orange and the olives in the salad; this interesting flavor combination was a great match with the wine. The smoked paprika and the mussels were so fantastic with the wine. While all of the wines were amazing with our meal at the end of the night the Brut Reserva Rose was the wine we wanted to go back to to finish our meal– and with dessert as this wine brings out the cinnamon which was not an overwhelming flavor in the cookie prior to the wine. 


Spanish mussels with tomato and paprika

Spanish Mussels with Smoked Paprika and Tomato
serves 2-4


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, finely shopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (ours had onions and garlic)
  • pinch pepper flakes 
  • 2 lbs fresh mussels
  • 1 lemon, sliced for garnish 
  • pinch sea salt
  • black pepper


  1. Chop 5 cloves of garlic, 1 small shallot, 1/2 cup fresh parsley; slice 1 lemon.
  2. Heat a large non-stick frying pan with a medium-high heat, add and heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, add shallot and garlic and saute until golden.
  3. Add and mix smoked paprika, saffron threads, sea salt, black pepper.
  4. Add and mix 3/4 cup white wine and 2 T chopped parsley.
  5. Add and mix 1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes.
  6. Simmer on low heat for 10-20 minutes; let rest for flavors to integrate. When ready to cook mussels, reheat to simmer.
  7. Rinse and remove beards from fresh mussels; (rinse dirt off under cold running water, pull off “beard” and barnacles).
  8. Add mussels to broth, place a lid on the pan, lower heat, and simmer for 6 minutes or until the mussels are open.
  9. Garnish with slices of lemon and freshly chopped parsley. 

Spanish Citrus salad

Spanish Citrus Salad with Fennel, Olives, Arugula  

Ingredients to serve 2-4

  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
  • bag of baby arugula
  • 1/3 cup green Spanish olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup nuts, chopped
  • citrus: 1 orange or 2 tangerines or 1 grapefruit
  • optional: one small avocado*


  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/8 t ground black pepper
  • 1 T orange juice
  • 1 T olive brine 
  • optional: 1 t honey 


  1. Segment citrus or slice into thin rounds and remove peel.
  2. Trim fennel bulb and slice as thinly as possible. 
  3. In a large salad bowl, combine arugula, citrus, fennel, olives.
  4. For dressing, in a jar, combine ingredients and shake, then drizzle on greens; toss.
  5. Sprinkle with nuts and serve.

*The following night we added avocado and lettuce to the leftover fennel, olive, orange, arugula — yum! I definitely recommend adding avocado! 

We also took the leftovers, added more of the same ingredients, and added 2# clams to it (see photo below). We didn’t add more saffron and we didn’t simmer it as long, and so it wasn’t quite as good. Plus we think that the mussels are better than clams in this dish. The wines, however, loved the clams.  

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