If you’re a bit hesitant about the idea of matching prawn with red wine you might automatically think of pairing paella with white wine. But the world of food and wine pairing offers so many possibilities, we cannot just leave it there.
Today we are going to analyse 3 of the most traditional types of paella and find out which wines will go best with them. If you are looking for the perfect paella pan, check out the best paella pan of 2020.
Paella Valenciana is the star dish from which all other paellas owe their form. It’s made with rice, chicken or rabbit, butter beans, and sometimes pork in the form of chorizo, pork loin pieces or chops, green beans, tomato, sweet pepper, olive oil, salt, and the magic ingredient, saffron.
The variability of ingredients used for this dish means that the Valencian Paella has many different wine pairing options, depending on the ingredients you choose.
If the paella is very flavourful, it is best to pair it with a young and fruity red wine, served slightly chilled. A cinsaut or tempranillo will work well.
White wine lovers should look for a white wine that is both powerful in the mouth and has spent some time fermenting in the barrel, such as a chardonnay.
If the paella has more subtle flavours, pick a good rosé and decant it.
The seafood paella is the king of the sea and comprises of squid, prawns, langoustine, mussels, clams and sometimes fish. This paella is a dish that usually has lighter flavours than its Valencian counterpart.
Due to its delicate flavours, this paella requires light and fresh cold wine that will not dominate its aromas. If you can get your hand on a barrel fermented sauvignon blanc, grab it. Otherwise we suggest a high quality Methode Cap Classique, like this one from Graham Beck.
Avoid ‘fruit-bombs’ or overly alcoholic, tannic reds. Rather go for a well chilled dry rosé or grenache.
Mixing the ingredients of a Valencian and a seafood paella, the Paella mixta appropriately translates to ´Mixed Paella´. The vegetarian version, however, is made with rice, artichokes, asparagus, olives, mushrooms, palm hearts, broad beans, butter beans, red pepper, green pepper, onion, tomato, parsley, saffron, olive oil and salt.
The wines that we have highlighted for the Paella Valenciana would work best with the paella mixta.
For the vegetarian paella, go for a fresh and light rose or a dry sparkling wine.