Although Iran was probably the first place to cultivate and make wine, Arabic food can be tricky to pair… After some serious research and a bit of fun tasting, here are my top picks for wines from Mendoza to pair with classic Arabic dishes (or as close as you can get with Argentine ingredients). Get a party together and try out these unusual pairings yourself.
Hummus: Recuerdo (Vines of Mendoza), Malbec
The snack staple. Garlic, olive oil, chick peas and tahini (if you can get it) with a touch of paprika. A pairing nightmare. But Recuerdo’s dark fruit Malbec is fresh and juicy with enough of a backbone to bring fruit through to the otherside without killing the creamy hummus. A really interesting pairing!
Baba Ganoush: Alpamanta, Syrah
It’s a really fun word to say but again, this is a tricky one to pair. Smoky aubergine/eggplant requires a powerful wine to stand up to it but not overpower it. The funky, meaty smoke of Alpamanta’s organic and biodynamic Syrah is a good contender for pairing with baba G.
Tabbouleh: Gimenez Riili, Rosado
A dry, aromatic and herbal blend of bulgar wheat, parsley, mint, spices and vine tomatoes, this savory salad is an eruption of flavours with Gimenez Riili rose. The dry rose is filled with strawberry, cherry and floral notes which made for a real taste of Summer when combined with fresh tabbouleh.
Arabic meat empanadas: Sol fa Sol (Marcelo Pelleriti Wines), Torrontes
Much lighter in style than Argentine empanadas, the cumin and lemon with fresh tomatoes make for a more surprising pair – Torrontes. Sol Fa Sol Torrontes has an unctuous mouthfeel that holds its own weight alongside the meat but the citrus and spice flavours make for an outstanding combination with these spiced empanadas. It makes alot of sense why in Salta they drink Torrontes with their spicier meat empanadas.
Kibbeh: Bodega Caelum, Cabernet Sauvignon
Smoky grilled minced meat with different spices and a centre of spiced red onion – it needs a big juicy wine to content. We liked boutique winery Caelum’s Cabernet Sauvignon which isn’t too strong on the tannins but the structure pairs with the grilled flavours and the red fruit carries through to the end.
Baklava: Bodega Septima, Late Harvest Gewurstraminer
Oooo, the apple of every Arabian eye. Nutty, honey, crumbly pastry, delicious. But the key is not to make it too sweet as a wine should be sweeter than the food. Septima’s late harvest Gewurstraminer is a perfect option – white roses, honey, almond notes and fresh mint with a long finish make this a true Turkish delight.