Over the last decade or so, I have really fallen in love with Spanish wines. I really don’t believe that there is a region in the world that offers a greater value in wine than Spain. While prices seem to climb everywhere else, the Spanish winemakers seem to understand their unique position as the greatest wine value in the world.
The wine itself is almost always incredibly approachable. I often find that French and Italian wines, while great, often shy away from early drinkability and too often are unapproachable to a novice wine drinker. Spain offers some of the best old world techniques that blend incredibly well with a more American palate. I’m not saying there aren’t incredible high end wines from Spain – because there are. It’s just that I enjoy the guilt free price points along with the fact that though they are very good with food, they are also very good on the back deck with friends.
A Spanish Red & White Wine
Paso A Paso Verdejo
The white is the Paso A Paso Verdejo. Verdejo is a grape that thrives in Spain, and I would say it drinks most like a Sauvignon Blanc with its lightly astringent citrus and grassy notes. One of the things that makes wine great with food is acidity and this wine has wonderful acid. Acid in a white wine can best be described as the part of the wine that makes your mouth start to water after you drink it. It literally kick starts the digestive process before you have eaten a bite. This is a great summer wine that is light and approachable. It pairs well with most seafood, and it would also be nice with a light vegetarian dish or salad.
The red wine I chose is the Volver Tempranillo. Tempranillo is the name of the grape from which this delicious fruit bomb is made. This wine is juicy and jammy – and downright yummy. I would say that the closest thing we have to tempranillo here in the U.S. is zinfandel. Both of them give us dark ripe fruits with lots of spice and depth to the flavors. Much like zinfandel, this wine can stand up to some serious meatiness on the plate – pairing well with everything from BBQ to sausage and cheese to a filet mignon.
The Volver is high in alcohol at 15%, but it’s not so high that it becomes unbalanced in flavor. You will know that a wine is unbalanced when any one element dominates the flavor. That element could be alcohol or fruit or even tannins (tannins are the things in red wine that dry your mouth out, like eating a raw pecan).
I’ve already told you that neither of these wines screams to be paired with food, so that they can be enjoyed alone. But I believe that almost all wine is better with food (and almost all food is better with wine, if I’m being honest). The best pairings make both the wine and the food taste better.
This week, in honor of our Spanish selections, I’m going to pick up some tapas from Babalu Tacos & Tapas in Fondren to pair with each of them. This would be a great way to have a relaxing dinner with friends where everyone shares some of each dish, the way God intended tapas to be enjoyed.
With the Paso A Paso Verdejo, I’m going to have the Fierce Shrimp and the Crab Cakes. With the Volver Tempranillo, I’m going to have the Filet On A Stick and the always delicious Braised Beef Short Ribs.
The Tasting Notes, for you Wine Geeks
Paso A Paso Verdejo:
- Appearance: Pale yellow
- Nose: Grapefruit, pear
- Taste: Light citrus flavors, especially grapefruit, some underlying nuttiness, nice acid
- Finish: Crisp, clean and short
- Appearance: Deep dark purple, but bright
- Nose: Dark fruits, like blueberries and black cherries, hint of vanilla
- Taste: More jammy black fruits, hints of coffee
- Finish: Amazingly well-balanced and long finish