Tapas with An International Touch and Rioja Red Wine: A Match Made in Heaven

*Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by RIOJA WINE. All opinions are my own.

Tapas with An International Touch and Rioja Red Wine by @SpicieFoodie | #tapas #wine #Spanishfood

When I want to prepare a special meal for us, tapas and a good bootle of red wine are always high on the list. Tapas are fun to prepare, eat and share with the ones you love.


What are tapas exactly? They are small snacks (canapés) served in Spanish bars alongside drinks. Even though they are meant as little bites, I love eating several tapas with a high-quality Spanish wine as a main meal. There is something so enjoyable about getting to eat small servings of many different flavours and textures in just one meal. Maybe my tastebuds are a bit greedy, but good food and wine are two of life’s little pleasures.

Tapas with An International Touch by @SpicieFoodie | #tapas #partyfood #Spanishfood

The concept of tapas is not only a popular one in Spain, nowadays people around the world have incorporated traditional Spanish tapas with their own local cuisines. Tapas have long been high up on the food pedestal and their modern evolution has skyrocketed them into spectacular culinary heights. If you’ve never eaten tapas then you are seriously missing out.

Antique corkscrew wine opener by @SpicieFoodie | #wine #corkscrew #wineglass

For our latest romantic tapas dinner I incorporated traditional Spanish flavours with touches of Mexico and Denmark. I served patatas alioli (or alioli potatoes) with cilantro instead of parsley, a type of cured Spanish sausage (salchichon español), fried Serrano peppers sprinkled with sea salt (in lieu of Padron peppers), creamy Danish blue cheese, pimento asado (roasted sweet peppers), chopped shrimp cooked with smoked paprika (to make for easier servings on bread), black and green olives, slices of a crunchy baguette from the bakery and an excellent bottle of Rioja red wine. The meal consisted of salty, spicy, sweet, tart, creamy and crunchy tastes and textures. The meal was an absolute success — it was a match made in foodie heaven!


Tapas with An International Touch by @SpicieFoodie | #tapas #partyfood #Spanishfood

5.0 from 3 reviews
Tapas with An International Touch and Rioja Red Wine
Cook time
Total time
Hosting a romantic tapas dinner for two is easy and inexpensive. Throw in a nice bottle of Rioja red and you've got yourself a gourmet dinner.
Recipe type: Tapas, Canape, Snack, Small Bites, Appetizers, Lunch, Dinner, Party Food
Cuisine: Spanish, International
Serves: 2
No prep tapa ingredients:
  • 1 large baguette, sliced
  • black and green olives
  • Spanish cured sausage or Serrano ham
  • Danish blue cheese
For the roasted sweet peppers:
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, stem and seeds removed and cut in half
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, stem and seeds removed and cut in half
  • 1 large poblano pepper, stem and seeds removed and cut in half
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • large pinch of sea salt and of ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • pinch of oregano
For the patatas alioli:
For the chopped shrimp with smoked paprika:
  • 250 gms shrimp, cleaned, tail removed and chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • large pinch of sea salt
  • 1 heaping tbsp smoked paprika
For fried Serrano peppers:
  • fresh Serrano peppers, cleaned and patted dry
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • fine sea salt
Instructions for the roasted sweet peppers:
  1. Heat the oven to 190c or 375f and line a baking sheet with baking paper, set aside. Mix all of the spices and oil until well combined. After cleaning the peppers rub the oil and spice mixture until each pepper half is well coated. Place on baking sheet with inside of pepper facing down and roast 20 minutes then flip and roast for another 10-15 minutes until they are completely soft. (Pay extra attention to the poblano because they are thinner and it can burn.) Remove from the oven and baking sheet and place on a plate. Allow to cool then peel away the skin, plate and set aside until ready to serve.
Instructions for potatoes:
  1. Please follow the instructions on the recipe here.
Instructions for the chopped shrimp with smoked paprika:
  1. Heat the oil and sauté the garlic until soft. Next add the shrimp and cook until firm and when they have turned pink. Quickly mix in the paprika and sea salt and stir until they have coated the shrimp well. Allow to cook another 4 minutes, turn heat off and place inside serving container until ready to serve.
Instructions for fried Serrano peppers:
  1. Heat the oil in and once hot add the chiles. Allow to brown and softened -- about 5-8 minutes. Remove from pan and sprinkle with sea salt right before serving.
How to serve the tapas:
  1. Arrange a plate with the fried Serrano peppers, blue cheese slices and Spanish cured sausage. Place the bread slices in a large container or basket. The sweet roasted peppers too should be placed inside a serving bowl/plate -- as should be the cooked shrimp. Make sure to have plenty of serving utensils for each tapa. Allow each person to assemble their tapas as desired and serve with a glass of your favourite Rioja wine.



Tapas with An International Touch and Rioja Red Wine by @SpicieFoodie | #tapas #wine #Spanishfood

We all know that good food served with good wine makes for a gourmet experience. Our scrumptious tapas dinner could not have been as delicious as it was without the bottle of Crianza red from the Arienzo de Marqués de Riscal vineyard in Spain’s Rioja wine growing region. The wine was a great choice because it complimented all of the tastes and textures of our tapas meal perfectly. The colour is a deep red with scents of fruit, the taste is full, clean and very pleasant. This wine has a lot of character; The gorgeous flavours linger in your mouth without overpowering your tastebuds or food.

Let’s face it, when it comes to wine most of us know very little — other than we like to drink ones that taste good, of course. Like many people, I feel a bit of intimidation when having to choose a bottle of wine. I did some research to help us all shed some of our wine fears. I can honestly tell you that now after having discovered wines from Spain’s Rioja region, I feel less intimidated — and you will too.

Rioja Wine Growing Region in Spain on @SpicieFoodie | #travel #wine #RiojaWine

Rioja wines are called the best food pairing wines on Earth by many chefs and sommeliers around the world. Who better to trust then these professionals. These wines are created to be ready to drink upon pulling the cork. They are designed with a lower alcohol content and acidity so they can enhance the flavour of food and not overpower it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a white, rose or red that you choose, Rioja wines will pair perfectly with any food you served them with — be it Spanish, Mediterranean, fusion or international dishes. And for those days when you just want to relax with a glass you can’t go wrong with one of these delectable vintages.

Tapas with An International Touch and Rioja Red Wine by @SpicieFoodie | #tapas #wine #Spanishfood

I learned so much about Rioja wines and now I’d love to help you choose your own bottle. The first thing you want to look for is the “Denominación de Origen Calificada” or DOCa seal. This ensures that each wine (vineyard) meets the strict qualifications required to be authentically Rioja. The next thing you’ll look for is the classification of wine which denotes the ageing process of the wine. (This applies to all three: white, rose and red wines.) The labels are green for “Cosecha” grade that defines young wines with little or no oak ageing, then there’s the red stamp denoting “Crianza” or wines harvested 2 years ago with a least one year in oak. Next is the burgundy label for “Reserva” that is aged one year in oak and two more in the bottle. Lastly is the “Gran Reserva” which spend at least 2 years in oak and 3 in bottle — but these are wines made for exceptional vintages.

Classifications of Rioja Wines on @SpicieFoodie | #wine #RiojaWine #spanishWine

Whichever variety and classification you choose just know that your wallet will not suffer. It is pretty impressive how a very affordable bottle of Rioja wine won’t leave you sacrificing quality or taste. Most of these wines are priced around $15 a bottle but you can even come across a 2004 vintage for around $30 or less — now that’s impressive!

Let Rioja by you a tapas dinner! | #wine #RiojaWine #SpainStay connected to your favorite wine region by joining the Rioja Wine mailing list. It’s fast and simple! Just click on the banner above and fill out the form. You’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win a festive wine dinner. Good luck! #riojabuzz



  1. says

    Oh, wow! I want to come to your house for tapas! Everything looks incredible! I’ll try to remember this wine pairing…I have a feeling it was a perfect fit!

  2. says

    Whenever Bobby and I are in Santa Fe we stop at our favorite tapas restaurant and hang out for a couple of hours. Finger food and wine – YUM! I love the simply tapas that you’re sharing! They all sounds so good, but I really need to try the shrimp with smoked paprika. Thanks Nancy!

  3. says

    I love this post. I am a huge red wine fan. It is wonderful to see what to pair with your tapas. I don’t enjoy Rojas enough, I need to change that. Everything looks fabulous! Hugs, Terra

  4. says

    I’m always looking for new wines to try so I’m excited to try the wine you mentioned!
    Your food looks so delicious, and you’re so right about tapas! I love it because I can eat several different foods and not feel guilty because it’s small portions. :)

  5. says

    We love tapas, small plates, and often do that at home by pulling together tidbits of cheese, sausages, olives, bread/crackers, and wine — what a treat! You have put together a beautiful assortment of flavors and delights. YUM!

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