A single glass of wine is typically priced at the wholesale cost of the entire bottle.
That means that a bottle that costs $10 wholesale equates to a $10 glass of wine at your bar or restaurant. Your markup depends on how many glasses you pour from the bottle.
Our job at Chilled is to suggest wines for your wine-by-the-glass bar program. Each online issue will highlight a handful of wines that meet our criteria of quality and affordability. The wines chosen will please the palate on their own or when served with food. This week, we’re discussing the best wines by the glass to offer at a Spanish restaurant.
Spanish food comes in many forms, from octopus to serrano ham to everyone’s favorite, tapas. These small plates can hold nearly anything, whether it’s nuts and anchovies, cheese and olives, or croquettes and chorizo. The possibilities are endless, which is also the case for Spanish wines that pair well with tapas.
One of the obvious styles that pairs well with Spanish food is cava. Cava is Spain’s sparkling wine, which is made exactly in the style of Champagne, but costs a fraction of the price. Cava can be paired with just about any food whose origin is from Spain. Crianza from Rioja, Mencía from Bierzo, Verdejo from Rueda, and Rosado from Navarra are other solid suggestions if you only want to purchase Spanish wines for your establishment.
Another great choice is sherry, a fortified wine, because there are several styles that pair wonderfully with tapas. Fino sherry is a natural for finger foods like Marcona almonds, serrano ham, Manchego cheese, and olives. Amontillado sherry loves warm tapas, especially meats like chorizo, lamb, and meatballs. Manzanilla sherry is also a great style that pairs well with just about anything.
If you’re looking for specific bottlings to try, these six wines are perfect for serving by the glass at your Spanish restaurant.
Albariza Palomino Fino 2017
This fortified wine is a fino sherry from Andalucia, Spain, that’s fragrant, distinctly dry, and buttery with an excess of floral notes. Served very cold, the Palomino varietal will light up your customers’ palates with classic tapas snacks like Spanish cheeses, almonds, ham, and olives. Fried fish also loves fino.
Suggested glass price: $6
Orleans-Borbon Manzanilla Fina 2018
You’ll love this citrusy, fortified Spanish dessert wine that possesses tangy aromas of ocean saline mixed with a palate of lemon curd and yeasty rye bread. It’s complex and perfect for olives, salty fried foods, shellfish, cured meats, and raw fish. Be sure to serve it chilled.
Suggested glass price: $8
Big Max Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
This Cab is one of those perfect 14 percent ABV red wines from California’s Central Coast that cuts the fat in juicy steaks and hearty meat sauces. It is big and bold on its own, but food tones it down a bit. Rich layers of cherry and hints of spiced marmalade mingle with smoky oak and dark plum flavors that highlight this smooth wine. Big Max overachieves with game meats, specifically lamb, rabbit, deer, and venison.
Suggested glass price: $16
Vivanco Crianza Rioja 2014
This smooth, well-balanced Tempranillo from Rioja is a crowd-pleaser. Its vanilla, buttery toffee, chocolate, and peppery red fruit flavors soften Spanish dishes with veal, poultry, beef, and lamb and absolutely light up tapas. It’s semi-dry, acidic, and has medium tannins, and it drinks well above its cost.
Suggested glass price: $11
Renzo Masi Erta e China Rosso di Toscana 2017
A 50/50 blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, Erta e China is aged up to two years in American and French oak. The result is a special wine that has a medium body, soft tannins, and a fair amount of acidity. Tuscany is the home of the Sangiovese varietal, a grape that pairs well with deep red sauces, cured meats, and the majority of red and white meat dishes.
Suggested glass price: $10
Left Coast Cellars The Orchards Pinot Gris 2017
This delicious Oregon white wine is lively and bright and pairs well with all types of seafood and shellfish. Tapas suggestions include raw fish, grilled chicken, anchovies, and mild cheese. The Orchards Pinot Gris is food-friendly and approachable and has an abundance of citrus and acidity.
Suggested glass price: $11