16 September 2011

Pairing Wine with Tapas

If you have ever spent much time browsing through store areas such as the Marks & Spencer wine section, you have probably noticed that the selections can be a bit difficult to look through if you don’t have a specific goal in mind. Such an extensive wine collection exposes you not only to different types of wine, but to wines from different regions all over the world, and from different years. It’s almost impossible to make any sort of strategic decision beyond a guess when choosing what you want. This is why a lot of people prefer to buy wines specifically for certain dishes. 

This particular article will look into which wines pair well with the popular Spanish dish (or dishes) known as tapas. It is quite difficult to accurately define tapas, but if you have never been to Spain or eaten in an authentic Spanish restaurant, the best way to put it is that “tapas” refers to a range of fine appetizers that can be put together to form a meal. For some, tapas are an acquired taste, as they generally involve very strong flavours. So – which wines do people tend to enjoy with these tasty Spanish dishes? 

Many seem to think that the best possible wine to pair with a tapas dish is a Spanish white Rioja. The Rioja, or at least the white Rioja wine, is generally thought of as crisp, with a slight citrus taste to it. It seems that people enjoy this sort of sharp, fruity taste alongside the powerful flavours associated with most tapas. Similarly, some people seem to prefer Sherry or Rosé, which also provide something of a crisp, fruity taste with a bit of a dry feeling. Dryness seems to be a priority in pairing wine with tapas, simply because more delicate wines will not always stand up to some of the stronger flavours you can find in tapas (from ingredients such as olives and some cheeses). 

Pairing wine with food in a satisfying manner is not an easy task. Generally, it takes a practiced palate to understand which flavours will work best with others. In fact, particularly for a food as unique as tapas, which can include any number of different ingredients and tastes, it can be quite difficult to find a suitable wine. However, if this is indeed your task, there is plenty of information online, including recommendations from experts, that should help you to make more specific decisions.

Images © Orce Serrano Hams

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