The sun is shining, temperatures are rising and barbecue season is upon us. Before you fire up the grill, make sure you have something delicious to wash off all that smoky food. Coming from a hot and sunny climate, Spaniards know a thing or two about cooling off on a hot summer day.
Spain is home to some of Europe’s main wine regions, including Rioja, Ribera del Duero, and Priorat. Spanish red wine is famous around the world, but what about lesser-known whites, exceptional bubbles, not to mention the world’s most popular fortified drinks?
Here’s your ultimate guide to the best Spanish wine (and fortified wine) for your summer barbecue:
Nothing says summer more than a perfectly chilled bottle of rosé. While most Spanish rosés are darker in color, the 3055 is an easy-drinking Provencal-style pinot noir with an airy Mediterranean touch. The nose is intense, with aromas of white fruits, citrus fruits and strawberries. It bears the name of the registration number (3055) of the yellow taxi that founder Jean Léon drove when he moved to New York to make his fortune.
Add sparkle to your summer barbecue with this excellent wine from Torelló. This winery is one of 11 behind the new ‘Corpinnat’ label for premium Spanish sparkling wine, making it the perfect choice when you’re looking for something a little more chic than standard cava. This aromatic sparkling white has a pleasant and lasting aftertaste, and aromas of fresh flowers, honey blossom and rosemary.
Sparkling wine is always festive, but pink bubbles are guaranteed to start the party. Located just outside Barcelona, Vilarnau is a small, artisanal producer of exclusive and high quality cava. This pale pink organic wine is fresh, smooth and fruity, but not sweet. Easy to drink, it pairs well with everything from burgers to seafood.
Godello wines from Bierzo in northern Spain practically disappeared in the 1970s but have made a comeback in recent years. Well balanced, with a refreshing minerality, these lively white wines go equally well with or without food. This summer, if you throw fish or vegetables on the barbecue, Godelia Godello will wash them wonderfully, because its refreshing acidity goes wonderfully with oily fish like salmon or tuna.
With their perfume bottle shape, Can Sumoi wines are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate, making them the perfect gift for guests. The fragrance is an organic and natural white wine made in a biodynamic farm in the Penedès wine region. It has a high aromatic intensity, with hints of flowers, tropical fruits and citrus, and goes particularly well with fish and smoked dishes.
Red wine may not seem like the obvious choice when it’s hot, but serve it slightly chilled and that’s just the ticket. From the superb Finca Ygay de la Rioja, Marqués de Murrieta Reserva is an elegant and well-balanced red. Its freshness and supple tannins give it a nice, full-bodied texture, which makes it the perfect match with barbecued meat.
In 1770, monks moved to the inhospitable lands of the Costers del Segre region to do penance. They started to make wine, and when the barrels began to mysteriously disappear, the monks claimed that the angels were taking them to Heaven. The smoky and toasted notes of this heavenly red from Familia Torres go perfectly with grilled meats, while the Mediterranean character goes particularly well with spices like rosemary or thyme.
Having an aperitif in Spain is called going to eat vermouth. This is how this fortified wine became ubiquitous. There is even a time of the week for vermouth: we call it la hora del vermut, and this happens every Sunday just before lunchtime (which is 2 p.m. in Spain). Vermouth is an easy drink to prepare: just pour it over ice and serve with an olive and a slice of orange on a toothpick.
Sherry is hotter than ever, and on a sweltering summer day, nothing beats a refreshing sherry-based cocktail. Tío Pepe Palomino Fino from the legendary González Byass winery is the base of the tiojito: a refreshing mojito-style cocktail with a touch of sherry. It’s easy to make: all you need is crushed ice, a lemon wedge, Tío Pepe, lemonade, and mint leaves. Or watch this video for full instructions.