Does Tempranillo go with paella? Yes, it does. Both Tempranillo and paella hail from Spain, and they pair up like a matador and his cape. This easy-drinking red also pairs very nicely with beef stew. These were our two entrees at Au Midi a couple of weeks ago. My husband and I headed there on a Wednesday because I had a craving for paella, and Chef Muriel Loubiere makes an excellent one. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays only, she prepares this traditional Spanish dish, and it’s always bursting with succulent shellfish and a variety of meats.
I had bought the Casa del Herrero Tempranillo 2013 ($30) at an event at Stockwell Cellars, and I took it along to Au Midi to have with paella. Casa del Herrero is another label of Stockwell Cellars and means “house of the blacksmith.” Don’t miss the anvil in their Westside tasting room—a cool industrial addition to Stockwell’s rustic wine cellar piled high with barrels. Winemaker (and steelworker) Eric Stockwell is turning out some splendid wines, the Tempranillo being one of them.
Michel Loubiere, the other half of Au Midi Restaurant’s husband and wife team, uncorked the Tempranillo for us and I took a sip. It’s an excellent wine, for sure, but with its high acidity levels, it needs a little time to breathe—and then its earthy aromas become more prevalent, and the flavors more mellow. If anything, the wine’s rather tart flavors of raspberries, cherries, rhubarb and pluots paired beautifully with the creamy Arborio rice and sauce of the paella, and the richness of the beef and gravy. Every time I drink a full-bodied Tempranillo, this wine—from Spain’s Rioja region—grows on me a little more.
Head to Stockwell Cellars to try it—you’re guaranteed to have fun in the tasting room most Friday nights, when his place becomes a music venue with an upbeat vibe.
Stockwell Cellars, 1100 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz, 818-9075. (Entrance on the Ingalls Street side of the building). stockwellcellars.com.
Au Midi Restaurant & Bistro is at 7960 Soquel Drive, Aptos (in Aptos Village Square next to The True Olive Connection), 685-2600. aumidi.com.