While the “wine police” are not likely to arrest you for non-compliance, some wines pair quite naturally with particular dishes. Historically, white wines are suggested as the best complement for seafood and chicken dishes, while reds tend to be served with red meats.
Certain wine varieties are preferred in geographic regions in which the grapes can thrive and where they pair nicely with local food favorites. Since paella is a traditional Spanish fish, rice, and flavorful spice dish, Spanish white wines are usually part of the meal.
One favorite, Albariño, is native to Spain and Portugal. This white wine variety has been a longtime favorite to provide a flavorful accompaniment to tapas, local seafood, and chicken dishes.
While Albariño grapes are not commonly grown in California, a vineyard at Stewart Ranch in Carneros of Napa Valley produced a sufficient quantity for a limited 2019 production by Hill Family Estate, one of the premier Napa Valley wineries.
Serving the 2019 Albariño with Classic Chicken and Chorizo Paella
Whether made with seafood or chicken, paella is a wonderfully delicious dish to serve to your guests. Not difficult to make in quantity, paella is also an ideal choice for larger groups.
Featured on the Hill Family Estate website, Chef Tim Uttarro of Sur La Table offers a detailed, easy-to-follow recipe for one of his specialties, Classic Chicken and Chorizo Paella.
Paella cooking works best when prepared in an authentic paella pan, sometimes called a “paellera,” an open, flat, round steel pan with handles.
Below is a general overview of Chef Tim’s paella cooking process:
Prepare the Sofrito:
- First, prepare the Sofrito, a sauce made with olive oil, yellow onion, red bell peppers garlic, tomatoes, paprika, and bay leaves.
- The sofrito mixture should be cooked first for about 10 minutes, continually stirring, and adding the ingredients as you go.
- Put the sofrito aside to begin the chicken/chorizo paella preparation.
Prepare the Paella
- Sauté the chicken, cut in one-inch pieces, with olive oil until brown.
- Add and toast saffron, smoked paprika, and turmeric for about 30 seconds.
- Mix in the Spanish-style chorizo, diced into ¼” pieces, and combine with the chicken, sofrito, and spices.
- Ladle in 3 cups of hot chicken broth and mix.
- Stir in the rice and salt, making sure the rice is distributed evenly through the mixture
- Turn the heat up to medium-high for about 5-7 minutes
- Cover and simmer at medium-low heat for 10 minutes
- Look for the rice to brown or caramelize so that it reaches “al dente.”
- Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, sprinkle with peas, and add the garnish.
- Serve and Enjoy!
Presenting the Hill Family Estate 2019 “Stewart Ranch” Alberiño
The floral notes and tart acidity of the Hill Family Estate Albariño matches well with shrimp, crab, oysters, tapas, and chicken dishes. Winemaker Alison Doran reports that this wine “offers aromas of pear, citrus, green apple, and floral note.”
The grapes were harvested in September 2019 after a long, moderate season in Napa Vineyards. The harvest was pressed and fermented in stainless steel for three weeks and then rested on the lees (residual yeast particles) for two months before racking and bottling.
The final product is 97% Albariño blended with 3% Sauvignon Blanc, also from Napa vineyards.
Contact Hill Family Estate for Your 2019 “Stewart Ranch” Albariño
With a production of only 446 cases, the Hill Family 2019 Albariño will be a rare treat for friends and guests. Add in a delightful, authentic Chicken Paella, and you will have the makings of a delightful and delicious summertime gathering.
For more information regarding the Hill Family Estate’s excellent wines and complementary food recipes, visit their website.