Best Wines to Pair with Paella?

Every cuisine has at least one – a one-pot meal, a dish of humble origins that is the quintessential definition of that place and people. There’s Gumbo, Cassoulet, Risotto, Irish Stew and Pad Thai to name a few. And the Spanish? Well, they have paella.  March 27th is National Paella Day.

Paella originated Valencia region of Spain. According to The Paella Company

Paella was originally farmers’ and farm labourers’ food, cooked by the workers over a wood fire for the lunchtime meal.  It was made with rice, plus whatever was to hand around the rice fields and countryside: tomatoes, onions and snails, with a few beans added for flavour and texture. Rabbit or duck might also have been added, and for special occasions, chicken plus a touch of saffron for an extra special colour and flavour. Paella was also traditionally eaten straight from the pan in which it was cooked with each person using his own wooden spoon.

There are three main types of paella; Valencian consists of rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck, pork), land snails, beans and seasoning; Seafood replaces meat and snails with seafood  such as prawns, mussels, and clams and omits beans and green vegetables, and Mixed, a combination of meat, seafood, vegetables.

Paella Valenciana (image courtesy of
Paella Valenciana (image courtesy of

In addition to the three main types of Paella, two other popular variations are Vegetarian, which typically contain vegetables like artichokes, lima beans, red and green peppers,and Paella Negra, which is typically seafood, cooked with squid ink, so it looks black.

Paella Negra (image courtesy of
My personal favorite – Paella Negra (image courtesy of

When pairing paella with wine, I recommend keeping a few food and wine pairing guidelines in mind:

  • What grow together, goes together – I prefer to pair with wines from Spain, Portugal, or wine from the neighboring Languedoc-Roussillon region in  Southern France.  Outside of Spain or France, consider Sangiovese or Pinot Noir for red wine.
  • Pair humble with humble, great with great – Paella has humble origins, I generally pair with inexpensive wines unless it’s a special occasion.
  • Sparkling wines go with almost anything – Pair Valencian, Mixed, and Negra paella with  rosé Cava and Seafood and Vegetarian with Brut Cava

Here are my wine paring recommendations by type:

 Valencian, and Mixed 

Pair with a chilled dry rosé. or an inexpensive red Rioja, other Tempranillo or Grenache. Here are a few I like (click on the link for where to buy):



Tip: Avoid high alcohol ‘fruit-bombs’ or overly alcoholic, tannic reds.


Pair with Albarino, white Rhone blend, Brut Cava, or Rueda.  Here are a few to look for (click on the link for where to buy):


If vegetables include asparugus and/or artichokes, pair with New World Sauvignon Blanc, otherwise, chilled dry rosé, white Rhone blend, Pinot Gris, or Brut Cava will be nice matches.

Need a recipe? Check out his great recipe for Mixed Paella from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen.

I  hope you’ll join me in celebrating one of world’s most well-known and beloved dishes.  Have your favorite paella and a glass of wine today!

Viva Espana y Buen apetito! 



  1. WhineCheersWine says:

    Thank you for exposing me to National Paella Day. After all these years of this being a regular meal for my family I never considered the fact that it was a “one dish meal”. Interestingly these are my favorite to make.
    Best regards,

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks Ernest! What does your family usually put in paella! I’m hoping to have some great paella when my wife and I visit Spain in a few months!

  2. Beatepdx1 says:

    Wonderful wine pairings to Paella’s. I very much enjoy reading about the history and different Paella versions. Thank you so much!!! ~ Bea

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks Beate! So fun to collaborate with you!

  3. Kris says:

    I’ve been invited to a 3-family gathering at a vegetarian’s house, and have been asked to bring a meat dish for the 8 of us who are omnivores. The main dish is paella. What should I prepare that would compliment it well? A Spanish sausage dish of some sort? Chicken pieces? Roast beef? I’m kind of lost for ideas…

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      A classic Paella combination is chicken and chorizo, so I’d recommend starting with that – but the thing about paella is that you can put whatever you want in it. So if you like seafood, throw some in! Thanks for stopping by! I hope it goes well!

      1. Kris says:

        Thank you!
        And thanks to your article, I have no questions about what wine to take with us :)

  4. David says:

    Good post, can see why it’s popular! I especially like the idea of Albarino with paella.

  5. valenciano says:

    Paella valenciana there is only one, authentic paella valenciana with denomination of origin only takes 10 ingredients, and if done over a wood fire with orange wood, much better

    there are dozens of different types of paellas in valencia, also made with another kinds of ingredients, but “paella valenciana” is the most famous, and is the only cooking with these 10 ingredients

    ferraura and garrofó are a kind of native beans, you can use google to see them

    extra virgin olive oil
    “Ferraura” (Bajoqueta)

  6. Jerry Lewiel says:

    Awesome, I’m a culinary artist and now acupuncturist, I can learn wines starting with you guys and I love the 3 versions so anyone can enjoy it, or make adjustments based on their needs

Comments are closed.