To talk about the Middle East, and particularly cities such as Dubai, is to talk about opulence, luxury, and tradition. A key ingredient in the Arabian culture is the absolute love and respect for their gastronomy. Rich flavours full of spice, distinct animal and vegetable protein, and ancestral recipes are inherited from generation to generation, making the region’s cuisine a favourite world-wide.
Having all this in mind, we bring three prime-level pairings ideal to accompany any kind of Arab food. We also present three of Dubai’s most exclusive spots with a fine wine offer.
Our first recommendation comes from a mediterranean country whose culinary roots are similar to other Arab countries. The Chateau Musar 1998 comes from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, and is a red wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Carignan. Made by the homonymous yard, owned by Gaton Hochar and his family, this wine is a product from the pioneers in fine red wine production in modern Lebanon.
Garnet colour that tends towards brick-red prevails in the glass, pale and subtle. In the nose, this wine exudes plum, cherry and earthy scents, while in mouth it is a dry, fruity wine, despite its age; some of the flavours would be expected in a Burgundy wine, even if this is a Bordeaux mix. Balanced and elegant, the tanine is silky, rich in cherry and plum notes, strawberry, mushrooms and leather tastes emerge in this medium-body and lasting ending wine. This wine pairs to perfection with traditional Arab cuisine which contains lamb.
The next recommendation comes from a country with a far-reaching Arab influence, with culture and tradition adapted into its own identity. The Vega Sicilia Valbuena 5° 2014 is a red wine that needs no presentation. Vega Sicilia is one of the best and most traditional producers in the Ribera del Duero region and Spain as a whole.
The Valbuena 2014 is a wine that, while being pretty young, can be consumed right away. However, patience will be rewarded for those willing to acquire the bottles and wait 3 to 5 years before tasting them.
This wine features Tempranillo grapes with a dash of Merlot, which brings a deep ruby colour with purple highlights and exquisite body. Plum, cherry and vanilla flood the nose with elegance, while the mouth tastes a fine, unctuous and potent wine with fruit presence and a perfect balance. Cherry, plum, berries, vanilla and caramel come together and continue through a long ending. THis wine exemplifies to perfection what a spectacular producer can make of a great harvest, like the one Ribera del Duero had in 2014. We suggest pairing with more spicy and flavourful dishes.
Our last suggestion originates in the Champagne region in France. Arab and French cuisines have found some common ground, and it is no surprise that a Champagne wine pairs so perfectly with many Middle Easter dishes. The characteristic acidity of the Champagne Brut cuts grease with ease, making it an ideal pairing for hummus or other greasy dishes.
The Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve is a great choice within this range. A highly complex wine, with an aromatic character and a fine capacity for aging, this wine is 40% reserve. Visually, it is a deep gold, while the scents are citric and with notes of honey. The taste is unctuous, acid and balanced, with grapefruit, green apple, yeast, mango, citrus and bready notes in both taste and smell for a complete sensorial experience. Medium body and with a long ending, this wine is a masterpiece.
Now, if you are planning to stay in Dubai, here is a select list of our favourite places to enjoy these bottles, as well as many others in their varied menus.
Le Petit Maison Dubai
Address: Gate Village 08 DIFC, PO BOX 506711, Dubai.
Phone: +971 (0) 4439-0505
Grapeskin Grape Bar and Kitchen
Address: Al Multaqua Street, La Ville Hotel & Suites City Walk, Dubai.
Phone: +971 (0) 4403-3111
Vintage Wine Bar
Address: Pyramids Wafi, Oud Metha District, Dubai.
Phone: +971 (0) 4324-4100