One of the things I love most about enjoying a bottle of wine is pairing it with some food. Snacking while sipping - it's one of my all time favorite activities. Lucky for me, I have some lovely friends and family that enjoy delicious food as much as they enjoy great wine and this activity is one I get to enjoy more often than not. And while there are various libations I like to drink during the summer, a chilled and crisp white wine seems to be the biggest crowd-pleaser and universally loved. After sampling a smattering of white wine varietals this summer I can say with certainty that I'm drawn to those with more of a acidic taste (versus the oak-aged or very sweet). Another thing I've come to find is that if a white wine was a Rueda Verdejo - no matter which specific vineyard or year - it was always a winner in my book.
For anyone unfamiliar (and I was up until recently) Rueda Verdejo is a top selling white wine from Spain that's known for pairing well with just about anything...both foods and occasions! Similar in taste to a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, Verdejo from Rueda is a vibrant and complex white that has just the right amount of fruit, a hint of spice, and a crisp refreshing finish. In a few words: it's incredibly easy to drink. Even more pleasing than it's taste profile is its pricing - most Verdejo from Rueda bottles are under $20!
Inspired by my frequent sipping of Rueda Verdejo I wanted to do a little offering of appetizers that pair well with white wine. As I mentioned earlier, snacking while sipping…it’s something I’m serious about. Of course Verdejo wine goes well along side just about any food – and sometimes I get lazy with my snacking choices (fact: popcorn, string cheese, and peanut butter cups do in fact go well with Rueda Verdejo) – but I wanted to educate myself on “true” white wine pairings. And I’m glad I did, because the three pairings below were next-level delicious with Verdejo!
Here’s what I put together:
- Avocado + lime crostinis: lime is one of the dominant acidic flavors of Rueda Verdejo wines and because both the wine and limes pair so well with buttery avocado, this was a super satisfying “veggie” appetizer option. I just mashed one fresh avocado, added the juice from half a lime, spread on toasted baguette slices, and topped with a little lime zest and kosher salt. Kind of like a bite-sized version of avocado toast but super fresh tasting with the addition of lime.
- Manchego cheese + serrano ham crackers: ohhemgee meat and cheese is my all time fave appetizer, especially with wine. I did a little research into specific cheese that pair best with Rueda Verdejo and manchego was one of them. And because serrano ham is a staple in Spanish cuisine and often served alongside manchego cheese as a tapa this seemed like an easy peasy app! I sliced up the manchego and folded some serrano ham slices on top of some thin crackers that were the perfect size and pain in flavor so as to not compete with the meat and cheese.
- Mango + pecorino cheese bites: I think we all know that grapes are the easy out when it comes to building an appetizer board for wines. But in my aforementioned Rueda Verdejo cheese pairing research I found that pecorino cheese was also recommended. And what goes well with a salty cheese but a naturally sweet fruit. Verdejo’s dominant fruit flavors – in addition to lime – are green melon, grapefruit pith and white peach. Peaches would be the most natural go-to for me but I wanted to go outside my comfort zone and do fresh mango. After slicing bite-sized chunks of mango and cutting small pieces of pecorino cheese I skewered one of each together and the pairing was perfect.
Thirsty for some Rueda Verdejo wine and hungry for some complimentary appetizers? I’m not sure how you couldn’t be given this summer spread. Come over any time and I’ll treat you to a repeat. Or pick up your own bottle of Rueda Verdejo – just look for the Rueda logo when visiting your local store or find a great selection on wine.com – and get creative with pairings that sound delicious to you! AND, if you’re ordering Rueda via wine.com, use code “RUEDA” at checkout for 10% off!!