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Tapas and Wine Pairing

Tapas is part of the Spanish cuisine and it has gained worldwide popularity in recent years. You might be organizing a trip to Spain or coming up with a tapas party at home, regardless of your plan, this is a good time to start thinking about how to pair tapas with wine.

During a tapas crawl, the pleasure is to sample a few small dishes of tapas and wine in one restaurant before moving on to another and repeating the same process. House wines are often of good quality in Spain so if you are in doubt, always ask your waiter to recommend the wine to go with your food. Just ask for “vino tinto” if you want a red or “vino blanco” for white and leave it to the expertise of the servers.

There is no order to what dish you should start with. People usually begin with appetizers such as olives, Manchego cheese and Spanish ham known as jamón ibérico, which you could eat on its own or layer on top of bread with tomatoes, which is also called pan con tomate. You could pair these salty, slightly fatty dishes with a fino or manzanilla sherry. Cava, which is always served chilled, is an equally superb choice here as well because it is dry and refreshing, cutting through the grease and salt.

Fried dishes are popular in a tapas meal. Both seafood and vegetables can be fried and they are all delicious. From patatas bravas to padrón peppers, calamares to croquetas, these dishes can be enjoyed with a pretty pink cava from Catalonia or dry white wine from the Rias Baixas such as an Albariño and Verdejo from the Rueda region. As the meal progresses to red meat like a Rubia Gallega txuleton steak or grilled lamb chops, you will not go wrong with a Rioja.

And just for the fun of it, you can always drink sangria with tapas, or ask for a similar version called tinto de verano, which is red wine mixed with ice and soda. Remember the key to a satisfying tapas experience is not to stick too strictly to rules and enjoy yourself!