Paella & a Portuguese Red
The deep flavors of a hearty vegetable-and-chicken paella meet their match in the soft fruit of an earthy Tinta Pinheira.
The Perfect Paella Pan
While there are as many paella recipes in Spain as there are cooks, a steel paella pan is essential to them all. A paella pan should be wide, round, shallow and flat. The shape maximizes the amount of rice touching the hot oil, which keeps the grains firm as they cook. And beyond functionality, a paella pan is also beautiful enough to go straight from the stove to the table ($29 for a 15-inch pan from Broadway Panhandler; 866-COOKWARE or www.broadwaypanhandler.com).
Perfect Wine Match
Rich in flavor but rustic by nature, paella is best suited to a wine with similar qualities. The Portuguese reds I've picked out are from two up-and-coming producers who are making modestly priced wines of remarkably high quality. The 2000 Quinta de Saes Tinta Pinheira ($9) from Portugal's Dão region is straightforward—though far from rough. Made from the local grape Tinta Pinheira, it plays up the earthy flavors of the rice, while its sweet berry flavors meld with the butternut squash. The wine's vibrant acidity brings it all into focus by cutting through the richness of the chicken and chorizo. A second option, the 2000 Quinta do Crasto Douro Red ($14), offers lush berry flavors that enhance but don't overwhelm.