Tapas and Albariño: A Winning Combination #WinePW

Whether it says Albariño or Rias Baixas, you have a refreshing wine, summer in your glass.

Wine Pairing Weekend Blogging Group Explores the Refreshing White Wines of Spain and Portugal
This month, our Wine Pairing Weekend group is off on a virtual trip the the coastal regions of Spain and Portugal to enjoy the refreshing white wines available from the region. Bonus: since they are less familiar in the US, many of these wines are both delicious and very affordable!

You can scroll further down in this post for links to all our blog posts from the group. My wine this month is a refreshing wine made from the Albariño grape, and I’ll be trying my hand at serving tapas at home. You just might find something worth trying before the summer is out.

What is/are Tapas Anyway?
Wikipedia defines tapas this way:

“A tapa (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtapa]) is an appetizer or snack in Spanish cuisine and translates to small portion of any kind of Spanish cuisine. Tapa may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or hot. In some bars and restaurants in Spain and across the globe, tapas have evolved into a more sophisticated cuisine. Tapas can be combined to make a full meal.”

The above definition is certainly informative, but I think the Urban dictionary here is way more fun:

“Tapas; an unfulfilling, miniscule, whore of a food that is as overpriced as it is unfulfilling. Involves foodstuffs that are halved and then halved and then halved about 10 more times, so that it can be ‘shared’.”

Best reason to make Tapas at home – it’s fun and relaxing to enjoy an extended evening enjoying all the flavors and textures in various small bites. Multiple courses encourage more time for easy conversation.

Best reason to go out for Tapas – Four Tapas = 4 x the grocery shopping, 4 x the cooking, 4 x the dishes….

Look to the far top left on the map. Rias Baixas is located close to the cold North Atlantic, the wines are guaranteed to be fresh and lively! Map courtesy of http://www.winefolly.com

Rias Baixas and Albariño
Rias Baixas is a region in Spain right on the western Atlantic Coast (just north of the border with Portugal). In contrast to the hot interior, the coastal region is quite cool with a maritime (moist and cool) climate.  It’s called “Green Spain” in part because it looks more like Ireland than the rest of the interior of Spain!

As in much of Europe, most wines in Spain and Portugal are named for the town or region of their origin. If you see a Spanish white wine labeled “Rias Baixas”, it’s made from Albariño. Some wineries have caught on that their international customers appreciate the grape name being on the label as well as the town, so you can see both being used.

Granbazán Winery
The Granbazán Winery is located in the Salnés Valley overlooking an estuary which leads directly to the ocean. It doesn’t get much more maritime than that! Similar to other wine regions directly in view of the coast, the vines are trained in a pergola system to allow plenty of air circulation under and around the grapes due to the moist coastal climate.

Granbazán Albariño Etiqueta Verde Rias Baixas DO 2017 (winery sample, 9.5€ SRP in Spain or around $15 online in the US)
Eye: Clear, pale lemon
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity. Super fresh aromas of white flowers, wet stones, fresh pears
Mouth: Dry, medium intensity flavors. High acidity and so refreshing! Medium body, medium alcohol, flavors are slightly saline and mineral, with fresh floral accents. Underripe pear flavors linger into a medium+ length finish. A very high quality wine.

Disclosure: I received the Granbazán Albariño Etiqueta Verde Rias Baixas as a sample from Rias Baixas wines. All opinions are my own.

(click on any photo for a full size slide show, hit “escape” to return)

Albariño and Tapas
Albariño is very fresh, lively, and refreshingly acidic. Our Granbazan Albariño paired beautifully with everything we served tonight. From the fresh gazpacho, through the grain salad to the scallops, I couldn’t have imagined a more appropriate wine.

Wine Pairing Weekend with the Refreshing White Wines of Spain and Portugal
If you see this soon enough, please consider joining our chat. We’ll be live on Twitter on Saturday, August 11th at 10am CDT, just look for us at the hashtag #WinePW.

Cookbooks for Your Consideration
I’m still a newcomer to Spanish cuisine, but I have been enjoying José Andrés’ “Made in Spain“. The gazpacho and scallops recipes I used today are from this book. It’s beautifully photographed and the recipes are doable, with reasonable ingredients lists. I especially appreciate the recipes are organized by region, which is so useful to pair them with appropriate wines.

The second is not Spanish at all, but we have been learning a lot and enjoying ancient grains this year.  Don’t make that face!  They can be delicious.  I have found the right additions and dressing make all the difference, and “Simply Ancient Grains” may get you started if you’re inclined.

Our Tapas
Our tapas dishes today came from two cookbooks. This has been our summer of ancient grains – we have been exploring good recipes for these nutritious food items.  The bonus is that you make the “salad” on one day and you can eat them as part of a meal for several days. Unlike lettuce based salads, they are just fine several days later.

Patricia’s Gazpacho (José Andrés’ wife) recipe is here. text

Kamut Salad with Oranges, Leeks and Blue Cheese recipe is here. I haven’t found kamut locally, so I substituted farro, another ancient grain.

Corn on the Cob – You got this.

Taylor Bay Scallops with Albariño Wine – José Andrés recipe is here. No Taylor Bay scallops in Minnesota, so I purchased (dry) sea scallops.  When you shop for scallops, try to find “dry scallops”, these are processed without a chemical that causes the scallop to retain water, so you are getting a better scallop.  They are more expensive, but worth it! Take your time carmelizing the onions in this recipe, it is worth it! This will become on of our scallop recipe staples;


16 Responses to “Tapas and Albariño: A Winning Combination #WinePW”
  1. Lynn says:

    Love the #WinePW theme this month and your choice- both wine and tapas- is a favorite of ours. You can’t go wrong with José Andres, his Made in Spain series is fabulous. The “dry” scallops tid-bit, didn’t know that, thanks. Lastly, you have a fantastic yard for photography!

  2. It’s hard to beat a good wine and delicious tapas. A perfect meal.

  3. culinarycam says:

    Okay, I LOVE that urban dictionary definition. I remember reading that ‘tapa’ means lid and those small plates fit over your glass to keep the flies out. Who knows? It always sounded good to me. I’ll ask my Spanish friends!

  4. Glad you persevered through your tapas adventure, despite the daunting Rule of Four! Everything looks totally delicious.

  5. Fantastic. The wines sound great. The pairings looks amazing. I am a huge fan of ancient grains so I did not make a face. 😉

  6. wendyklik says:

    How much fun was that urban dictionary definition? Tapas do make for a fun night.

  7. Tapas with Albariño sounds perfect. I need to check out José Andrés “Made in Spain!”

  8. Suzanne Hoffman says:

    Another great post, Jeff! When I want to cheat on Piemontese whites, Albariño is one of my top go-to wines, particularly on a hot summer day.

  9. Lori says:

    I love that you made tapas! They are so great when there is company, but they are so much work! Lots of mini meals! LOL This was the same wine I had and I really enjoyed it!

  10. Nicole Ruiz Hudson says:

    Such a beautiful looking spread. I love a tapas night, whether out or at home.

  11. Cooking Chat says:

    Looks like a delicious tapas party to pair with your wine! Fair warning about the work involved…

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Jeff of FoodWineClick! writes Tapas and Albariño: A Winning Combination. […]

  2. […] Wine Click reviews the Granbazán Albariño Etiqueta Verde Rias Baixas DO 2017  paired with […]

  3. […] Jeff of FoodWineClick! writes Tapas and Albariño: A Winning Combination. […]

  4. […] Jeff of FoodWineClick! writes Tapas and Albariño: A Winning Combination. […]

  5. […] Jeff of FoodWineClick! writes Tapas and Albariño: A Winning Combination. […]

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