Ordering a glass of house wine usually means we’ll be satisfied but not delighted. Spain proved to be a wonderful exception to this rule. Here the “vino de la casa” brings on a smile and a sigh of contentment time and time again, and that for just a couple of Euro.
The warm, lively tapas bars of Sevilla were where we first started ordering vino de la casa as it meant we could hop from bar to bar without leaving unfinished bottles in our path. (Let’s be honest – in all likelihood the bottles would not be left unfinished and as a result the path would be much longer and windier than necessary).
The format was simple – at the bar, order the vino de la casa and with it a couple of tapas such as firm, meaty olives, or eggs scrambled with potato and ham (huevos revueltos), or sweet roasted peppers stuffed with creamy goat cheese (pimentos). The food and wine would arrive moments later accompanied with cutlery and crusty bread…. heaven!
Also featuring amongst the tapas were seafood delights such as grilled octopus, sardines or squid (pulpo, sardines or sepia a la plancha) or battered and crisply fried anchovies (anchoas fritas). We loved these and had them often, accompanied by the white vino de la casa. The most common white variety we came across as a house wine was Verdejo, a varietal native to the Rueda region where the continental weather and gravelly soil give the wines a fruit forward flavor with great acidity.
Take a look through some of our photos of the delicious wines we came across in Spain and the mouthwatering tapas that accompanied them.
It’s these characteristics that makes this a great table wine that complements many different types of food. The younger, more acidic and limey wines are delicious with grilled seafood or salted cod, while the wines that are fruitier and had spent more time in oak tend to go well with pate or manchego cheese.
Closer to home (in Australia) we are more familiar with Verdelho, the Portuguese cousin of Verdejo. Whether or not the varietals are actually relatives is a matter we’ll leave to the experts. But the melon and tropical fruit flavours of the Verdejo certainly reminded us of our favourite local Australian Verdelhos which go wonderfully with spicy Thai and Indian food.
Our picks: Being Sydney natives we’re fans of the Hunter Valley Verdelhos. For a match with fresh or grilled seafood we like Krinklewood as it tends to be on the crisper, limier side (as well as being biodynamic). For stronger fruit and to pair with Asian food try Tower Estate or Audrey Wilkinson.