With Christmas round the corner, we’ve put together a handy guide on which Spanish wines to drink with your festive food.
But before we start, it´s important to keep and open mind and put aside those traditional rules like “you can’t serve red wine with fish”. These days there are light red wines that work well with fish and fuller-bodied white wines that stand their ground alongside meat dishes. The trick is to have just a smidgen of knowledge about what’s in the bottle, and to be true to your own tastes rather than what others say you should do.
Which wine to drink with turkey and white meats
So, let’s kick off with the turkey…or any other white meat for that matter. These are quite light meats with a low-fat content. So ideally you want a wine with less tannin, the compound in grapes which helps wine age but can also leave a slightly bitter, astringent feeling in the mouth. Tannins can overpower lighter meats, so our advice would be to look for a medium-bodied red wine, or one with just a few months of barrel ageing to soften the tannins.
Alternatively, you could try a slightly fuller-bodied, more gastronomic Spanish white wine. Our Solarce Blanco, for example, is a blend of Chardonnay, Viura and Malvasia grapes. It’s got decent acidity to handle the myriad of flavours on your Christmas plate, plus a touch of barrel ageing for that all-important extra body.
Which wine to drink with beef
Of course, Christmas is not all about turkey. So, for you beef fans out there, red wines made with Garnacha are a fantastic option. The iTant Garnatxa Negra from DO Montsant in southern Catalunya, with its layers of succulent, juicy fruit, is a good choice. While for something with a bit more weight to tackle fatter cuts of meat, the Que Sí! blend of Garnacha and Carignan from DOQa Priorat is a deliciously indulgent Spanish red wine just right for Christmas.
Which wine to drink with pork
Pork is one of Spain’s favourite meats and a perfect companion for Christmas feasts. It comes in a variety of guises, from embutido and the irresistible jamón serrano, through to the full-on richness of cochinillo (suckling pig). As a paler meat, it can seem tricky to find perfect wine pairings, but it needn’t be complicated.
Cold cuts of pork work well with lighter red wines with good acidity like Massimo, a blend of Mencía and Sousón grapes from DO Ribeira Sacra in Galicia.
Traditionally, roast pork would work well with a full-bodied, oaked red wine from somewhere like Rioja or Priorat. And, as with roast beef, our Que Sí! from iTant would work very well here. But if you prefer white wines then we'd suggest going for a white Rioja like Solarce Blanco, or maybe Viña Clavidor, our old vine Verdejo and Viura blend from DO Rueda.
Which wine to drink with seafood
Now we’ve got this far, and we haven’t even mentioned seafood or shellfish, which of course can be a big part of a traditional Spanish Christmas. If you’re planning a maritime feast with fresh prawns, clams or even percebes (goose barnacles), then you can’t go wrong with a fresh, young Albariño, that wonderful Spanish white wine from DO Rias Baixas in Galicia. Or if you want soemthing a bit different, try a sumptious Fino from Jerez, with its enticing salty tang that combines brilliantly with shellfish.
If you’re planning on rolling up your sleeves and using the oven, our Marola & Mass Albariño has a little lees ageing which gives it a slightly fuller-bodied style than usual, which works well with richer fish dishes, or prawns in a garlicky sauce for example.
Which wine to drink with a vegetarian meal
If you’re going for a veggie meal this Christmas, you might what to think about something like Cava, Spain’s favourite sparkling wine. Like Champagne, Cava is made using the so-called traditional method which means some of the fermentation process happens in the bottle, allowing more complex aromas and delicious bready notes to develop. It's great to drink on it's own, but also works well alongside a wide range of foods. So it's definitely worth giving it a try.
The Grimau winery in the Penedès region of Catalunya is one of our favourite producers, and we’re running a special offer on their Cavas in the run-up to Christmas so keep an eye out for that.
So there we have it, a few tips for the weeks ahead which we hope will take some of the stress out of festive planning and make everyone’s Christmas that little bit more enjoyable. Salud as we say, and a very happy holiday to you all!