My Love Affair with Southern Spain: From Tapas to Spanish Wine

Discovering Charcuterie and Tapas

My journey through southern Spain began with a deep dive into its rich culinary history, and it wasn’t long before I fell in love with charcuterie. The region’s dedication to crafting the finest cured meats, from the world-renowned jamón ibérico to a variety of delectable sausages, captivated my taste buds. Each evening, I found myself wandering into local tapas bars, where the tradition of complimentary tapas with every drink transformed my nights in Granada into culinary adventures.

Tapas: A Nightly Ritual

Tapas quickly became a nightly ritual. As the sun set, the streets of cities Granada would come alive. The aroma of sizzling garlic prawns and freshly cut ham filled the air. I savored dishes like patatas bravas, tortilla de patatas, and gambas al ajillo, each bite telling a story of the region’s rich culinary heritage. The communal aspect of tapas dining, with friends and strangers alike gathering to share small plates and stories, made each evening a memorable experience.

Falling in Love with Spanish Wine

But it was Spanish wine that truly stole my heart. From robust reds to crisp whites and the unique sherries of Jerez, the wines of southern Spain are as diverse and enchanting as the region itself. Here’s a list of my top eight must-try Spanish wines, each one a testament to the region’s vinicultural excellence:

1. Fino Sherry (Jerez de la Frontera): This dry, pale sherry is perfect as an aperitif, with its delicate almond notes and refreshing finish.

2. Manzanilla (Sanlúcar de Barrameda): A type of fino sherry with a slightly salty tang, ideal for pairing with seafood tapas.

3. Amontillado Sherry (Jerez de la Frontera): With its rich, nutty flavor and deeper color, amontillado sherry bridges the gap between dry and sweet, offering a complex tasting experience.



4. Pedro Ximénez Sherry (Jerez de la Frontera): This intensely sweet, dark sherry is like dessert in a glass, with flavors of raisins, figs, and caramel.

5. Ribera del Duero (Castilla y León): A robust red wine, known for its deep flavors of dark fruit, spices, and a hint of earthy minerality.

6. Rioja (La Rioja): Arguably Spain’s most famous wine, Rioja offers a range of styles from young and fruity to aged and complex, often with notes of berries, vanilla, and leather.

7. Albariño (Galicia): This crisp, aromatic white wine from the northwest coast is perfect for warm evenings, with its bright citrus and peach notes.

8. Verdejo (Rueda): Another excellent white wine, Verdejo is known for its vibrant acidity and flavors of green apple, fennel, and lime, making it a refreshing choice for tapas.

Embracing the Spanish Way of Life

My time in southern Spain wasn’t just about the food and wine—it was about embracing a way of life that values tradition, community, and the simple joys of good company and great flavors. Each sip of wine and bite of tapas connected me more deeply to the history and culture of this remarkable region.

In conclusion, my love affair with southern Spain continues to this day. The memories of charcuterie, nightly tapas,, and exquisite wines have left an indelible mark on my heart (and stomach). If you ever find yourself wandering the streets of Granada, or any other Andalusian city, take a moment to savor these experiences. I promise you, the flavors and the charm will stay with you long after you’ve returned home. ¡Salud!

Food stylist & founder of One Board Gal. Known for creative food tips and simple cheese board inspiration. I am dedicated to helping you bring a lot to the table by sharing tricks, tips, and education for your next gathering.



My name is Abbi and I am the CEO (Cheese Eating Officer) behind One Board Gal. I am a California native who ended up in the Midwest. How might you ask? Check out that story on our About Us page by clicking the picture of me above!


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