Ever asked yourself, “what wine goes with paella“? Well, you’re in the right place. So, let’s take a journey through the world of paella and wine pairings.

As much as paella itself is an art, pairing it with the right wine elevates the experience to a whole new level. But why does it matter “what wine goes with paella“?

Well, food and wine pairing is a harmonious dance, a delicate balance of flavors and textures. The right wine can enhance the taste of the food, just like the perfect song can make a moment unforgettable. It’s all about the magic that happens when all the right elements come together.

Think of it this way: wine is like a spice. It can completely change the taste of your food. But instead of just adding pepper or salt, you’re working with flavors like fruit, earth, spice, or even butter. The goal? To make the beautiful symphony of flavors in the paella sing even louder.

Understanding Paella Varieties

Alright, let’s take a stroll through the streets of Paella town. Just like people, every paella is unique, with its own personality and charm.

To answer our burning question, “what wine goes with paella,” we need to understand the unique varieties of this Spanish gem.

Traditional Valencian Paella

YouTube player

This is the godfather of all paellas. It’s where the magic began. The key ingredients here are rabbit, chicken, green beans, and butter beans, all simmered together with rice in a rich, saffron-infused stock. The resulting flavor profile is earthy, hearty, and robust.

For the Traditional Valencian Paella, you’ll want a wine that can hold its own against these intense flavors.

Look for a full-bodied Spanish red, like a mature Rioja, or even a bold and fruity Grenache. These wines have enough oomph to balance the dish’s robust flavors without overwhelming them.

Seafood Paella (Paella de Marisco)

YouTube player

Next up is Seafood Paella. Imagine fresh shrimp, succulent mussels, and delicate squid rings, all cooked together with saffron rice. The ocean’s bounty in a pan! The flavor profile here is briny, fresh, and distinctly oceanic.

When it comes to what wine goes with paella of the seafood variety, you’re going to want to reach for a crisp, acidic white wine.

A Spanish Albariño or a zippy Sauvignon Blanc works wonders. They’ve got the acidity to cut through the rich seafood flavors and the freshness to complement the dish.

Mixed Paella (Paella Mixta)

YouTube player

The Mixed Paella is the wildcard of the bunch. It’s a jumble of flavors, with chicken, rabbit, shrimp, and sometimes even snails thrown into the mix. It’s like a fiesta in a pan, with a flavor profile as varied as its ingredients.

A safe bet when considering what wine goes with paella that has both meat and seafood is a rosé. Spanish Rosado, or even a dry French rosé, would be a great choice. They’re like the best of both worlds, with enough body for the meats and enough acidity for the seafood.

Vegetarian Paella (Paella de Verduras)

YouTube player

The Vegetarian Paella is a celebration of vegetables. Bell peppers, artichokes, peas, and more, all shining bright in a sea of golden saffron rice. This dish has a fresh and vibrant flavor profile.

With this kind of paella, a light white wine like Verdejo or an Italian Pinot Grigio would be an excellent match. They are both light enough to not overpower the vegetables’ delicate flavors and crisp enough to cleanse the palate.

Black Paella (Paella Negra)

YouTube player

The Black Paella is the rebel of the family. Its striking color comes from squid ink, which also imparts a unique sea-salty flavor. Often, it’s paired with seafood to complement the oceanic flavors.

For Black Paella, you’ll want a wine that can hold up to its intense flavors.

A zesty Cava, Spain’s answer to Champagne, can be a fantastic pairing. Its bubbles and acidity cut through the rich flavors of the dish, creating a beautiful balance.

Wine Characteristics to Consider

With the paella squad introduced, let’s introduce the other half of our delicious duo – the wine.

When looking for a partner for your paella, it’s all about the wine’s characteristics. What’s the personality of the wine you’re pouring? Let’s dig in.


Sweetness in wine isn’t just about sugar. It’s about the balance of sugar, acidity, and tannins.

Sweeter wines can bring out the spices in your paella, whereas drier wines can cleanse your palate.


Think of acidity as the zing, the zest, the refreshing factor in your wine.

High-acidity wines, like Sauvignon Blanc or Albariño, can cut through rich flavors and leave your mouth watering for another bite.


Tannins are like the backbone of your wine. They can make your mouth feel dry, and they’re often found in high amounts in red wines.

Tannins can soften the richness of meats in your paella and balance the flavors.


The body of a wine is like its weight. Is it light and breezy like a summer afternoon, or is it full and robust like a winter night?

Pairing the body of your wine with the richness of your paella is key.

Tasting Notes

Tasting notes are the different flavors you can identify in your wine. Things like red fruits, white flowers, vanilla, or even butter.

Matching these flavors with those in your paella can create a harmonious experience.

Best Red Wines for Paella

If you’re a fan of red wines, don’t worry. Plenty of reds can dance the flamenco with your paella.

Spanish Rioja Tempranillo

This Spanish red is made from the Tempranillo grape and has flavors of red fruits, vanilla, and clove. It’s great with meaty paellas due to its full body and firm tannins.

Pinot Noir

A lighter-bodied red with flavors of red cherry and strawberries. Pinot Noir’s light tannins and medium acidity make it a versatile partner, especially for mixed paellas.


This medium to full-bodied red has a plush, velvety texture and flavors of dark fruits. Merlot’s round tannins and medium acidity can handle a range of flavors, making it a safe choice for most paellas.


Known for its dark fruit flavors and smoky finish, Malbec is a bold red that can handle the robust flavors of a Traditional Valencian Paella. Its full body and high tannins can balance the rich ingredients.

When deciding what wine goes with paella, remember: red, white, or rosé, the best wine is the one you enjoy the most! So, pour a glass, serve up a heaping plate of paella, and let’s keep exploring the beautiful world of food and wine pairing.

Best White Wines for Paella

There’s a certain magic that happens when you pair the crispness of a white wine with the depth of flavors in paella.

Here are some white wines that are ready to tango with your delicious Spanish dish.


Chardonnay is like a chameleon. It’s full-bodied with flavors ranging from green apple and citrus in cooler climates to tropical fruits in warmer regions.

Its buttery notes can pair well with Seafood Paella, enhancing the rich oceanic flavors.

Sauvignon Blanc

This is a high-acidity, light to medium-bodied wine with flavors of lime, green apple, and passion fruit.

Its zestiness can act as a palate cleanser, making it a perfect match for the richness of Seafood Paella or Vegetarian Paella.


A glass of Riesling is like a breath of fresh spring air. It has high acidity, and its sweetness varies from bone-dry to very sweet.

The fruity flavors in this wine can pair well with a Mixed Paella, complementing both the seafood and the meat.

Cortese di Gavi

This Italian white is crisp and refreshing with flavors of green apple and honeydew. It’s a great match for Vegetarian Paella, as its high acidity can balance the vegetables’ fresh flavors.

Remember, when pondering “what wine goes with paella”, white wines can be just as diverse and fascinating as their red counterparts.

They’re like a refreshing sea breeze on a warm summer’s day – perfect for a hearty plate of paella!

Rosé and Sparkling Wine Pairings

Rosés and sparkling wines are like the life of the party. They’re vibrant, fun, and make everything feel like a celebration.


Cava is Spain’s most famous sparkling wine, and it’s a natural match for paella. Its effervescence and high acidity make it a great palate cleanser, and it can match a variety of flavors, from Seafood Paella to Black Paella.

Californian Rosé

This is a medium-bodied rosé with flavors of strawberry, citrus, and melon. It’s a match made in heaven for a Mixed Paella, where its lightness can handle the seafood, and its body can hold up to the meat.

Brut Rosé

Brut Rosé combines the best of both worlds – the freshness of rosé and the effervescence of sparkling wine. Its red fruit flavors can balance the earthiness of a Traditional Valencian Paella.

Tips for Successful Wine and Paella Pairing

In the thrilling adventure of pairing wine with paella, a few tips can make the journey smoother.

Remember, it’s all about having fun and creating a culinary experience you’ll love. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the tips!

Matching Regional Foods and Wines

A general rule of thumb in the world of food and wine pairing is that foods and wines from the same region usually go well together.

This concept works perfectly for our Spanish star, paella. Pour a Spanish wine like Rioja or Cava and you’ll feel like you’re in Valencia!

Considering the Sauce and Spices in Paella

The rich, luscious sauce and vibrant spices in your paella play a significant role in wine pairing.

If your paella has a bold, spicy sauce, opt for a wine that can balance these strong flavors. A refreshing white wine or rosé might just do the trick!

Adjusting Wine Choices Based on Paella’s Main Protein

Whether your paella is shining with seafood, packed with poultry, or brimming with veggies, the primary ingredient can guide your wine selection.

Seafood often pairs well with crisp whites or rosé, while meaty paellas can handle robust reds.

FAQ about what wine goes with paella

What types of wine work best with paella?

Well, let’s put it this way: the vibrant flavors in paella demand a wine that can stand up to it.

So, a nice Spanish white like an Albariño or Verdejo is a classic choice.

For reds, a young Rioja could be a hit, too. Remember, it’s all about that delicate balance.

Should the wine be chilled for paella?

Totally, mate! Most whites and rosés should be served chilled to enhance their freshness and acidity.

Now, how much you chill it can vary, but typically aim for around 50-60°F. It makes it so much better. Promise.

Can I serve red wine with seafood paella?

Yeah, you can! But go easy. A light-bodied red like a Grenache or a young Rioja can complement seafood paella without overpowering it.

And, make sure it’s served slightly cooler than room temp. Just trust me on this one.

Do I have to stick to Spanish wines when having paella?

Nope, not at all! While Spanish wines are a traditional choice, any crisp, acidic white or light-bodied red from anywhere around the world can work.

Try a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or a Pinot Noir from Oregon. There’s no wine police, after all!

Can I serve rosé wine with paella?

Oh, absolutely! A nice dry rosé, especially from Spain or Southern France, can work wonders with paella. It has the freshness of a white and the body of a light red. The best of both worlds, really.

How do I choose a wine for a mixed paella?

Great question! With mixed paella, you’ve got a lot going on flavor-wise. A wine with high acidity and medium body would be ideal. A Spanish Verdejo or an Italian Vermentino could do the trick.

These wines can handle the mix of seafood, meat, and spices.

What if I prefer sweet wines, can they go with paella?

Well, it’s a free world! If you’re a sweet wine lover, a slightly sweet Rosé or an off-dry Riesling could be your best bet. These wines have enough acidity to balance their sweetness and won’t clash with your paella.

How important is the wine pairing for paella?

Ah, the eternal question! Some say it’s crucial, others, not so much. I’d say, wine pairing enhances the meal, making good food taste even better. So, it’s kinda important, but don’t stress if you can’t find the “perfect” match.

Can I use the same wine for cooking paella and drinking?

Sure thing! In fact, it’s often recommended to cook with a wine you’d enjoy drinking. So, if you’re using a nice white in your paella, pour yourself a glass too. Your meal will have a harmonious flow of flavor. Nice, right?

What if I don’t drink alcohol, any non-alcoholic pairings?

No problem at all! Non-alcoholic options can be fun too. Try a tangy citrus-based mocktail, or a non-alcoholic sparkling wine. Even a nice iced tea with a squeeze of lemon could be refreshing. After all, it’s all about enjoying your meal.


So, you’re on the hunt for what wine goes with paella? I bet you were expecting a straight answer, a one-size-fits-all solution. But the magic of pairing wine with paella is that there’s no single correct answer. It’s a colorful and dynamic journey that invites you to explore and experiment.

Picture this: You’ve got a sizzling pan of Seafood Paella, rich and brimming with flavors. You look at your wine collection, and your gut says, “Let’s try something different!” You grab a bottle of Malbec you’ve never tried before, and BAM! You’ve just created a flavor sensation that’s as unexpected as it is delightful.

What wine goes with paella?

The answer isn’t locked in some secret vault. It’s in your kitchen, waiting to be discovered. Maybe it’s a bubbly Cava with a Vegetarian Paella, or perhaps a classic Rioja with Traditional Valencian Paella. You won’t know until you try, and that’s where the real fun begins.

Categorized in: