Maridaje (marriage) is a much more evocative term for combining wine with food than the English word “pairing”. And on an island where wine is a way of life, it’s also taken seriously. It’s not a science, however, and the rules are more like suggestions. The important thing is that you make your own connections.
First published July 1st in the Gazette Life magazine.
Most people think that a chilled dry white is the best accompaniment to seafood, but that’s not necessarily true. Lanzarote’s dry malvasías are, of course, perfect with white fish such as dorada, sea bass, hake, and cod, but there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t try a rosé or even a light red, instead.
Tuna and salmon are hugely popular on the island, but these fish are both oily, and a red wine will go perfectly well with them. Lanzarote’s young reds or perhaps a crianza are perfect, and don’t be afraid to chill it a little.
Deep fried fish is popular here, and dry sparkling Brut wine is perfect to cut through that grease.
Meanwhile, those garlic prawns sizzling in an earthenware dish call for a celebration, and a rosé wine is the perfect glass to lift, echoing the dish’s sweet flavour and gorgeous colour.
The wine you choose to accompany meat will depend on all sorts of factors, from the type, the cut, the cooking method and the sauce. The general yardstick is that, the more intensely savoury the flavour, the darker and more complex the wine that will stand up to it.
Lanzarote’s cheeses go perfectly with wine, and the general rule is that the more mature the cheese, the more complex the wine to accompany it. Young cheeses team well with a semi-sweet or semi-dry white, while the astringent bite of a semi-curado cheese demands a dry white, although a touch sweetness can also work wonders. Older cheeses go well with red wines.
As for desserts, few experiences are more pleasant than eating cake and sipping a chilled semi-dulce while watching a favourite TV show.
Buying Lanzarote Wines
It’s possible to buy some of the more popular local wines in local supermarkets, but these tend to be wines bottled in large quantities by the larger bodegas. If you want to sample smaller bodegas or more limited brands, then it pays to look a little harder
There are several shops that specialise in local products on the island, and their selection of local wines will often be wider and well-chosen. Miguel Soria Ibéricos in Costa Teguise is one example, with several tempting local bottles. Restaurants will often take care in their selection of local wines, and it’s always worth studying the menu closely.
During the lockdown, Oliver Horton of Wine Tours Lanzarote set up an export business which now distributes wines in the British Isles – https://www.winetourslanzarote.com/.
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