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Wine pairing for Middle Eastern food...Bordeaux?

  • k

We are having my brother and his wife over tonight and will be having a Middle Eastern food fest (we all had the same craving today). I've never really thought about pairing a wine with shawerma and kibbeh - Bordeaux? Shiraz? Would love to hear thoughts and/or experience.

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  1. m
    Melanie Wong

    Here's a link to a menu and wine list for a dinner party I hosted a couple years ago that might give you a few ideas. The Mourvedre grape variety has a texture that is akin to Bordeaux and a flavor profile of meatiness, spice and dark fruit that is similar to Syrah. So your instincts are on the right track.

    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Melanie Wong
      m
      Melanie Wong

      Here's another dinner menu for ideas. Afghanistan is actually Central Asia rather than Middle East, but our menu drew from much of the same spice palette.

      I love the Rhone grape varieties with lamb and this spicing --- Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Viognier, and Roussane. A 2001 Cotes du Rhone would be fun and lively with your meal, likewise a Faugeres from the Languedoc. Or a new world Rhone-relative, such as Petite Sirah or Pinotage. A fruity Zinfandel, if you can find one that's under 15% alcohol, such as Nalle or Blockheadia. What these wines have in common are ripe fruit flavors, spicy notes, full-body, and medium to high acidity.

      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    2. Wines from the Rhone.

      1. I agree with Cotes du Rhone, or Zinfandel.

        1. Holy cow...what great menus to go with such a wonderful range of wines! I'd love to know where you got those recipes - I really like the combinations of flavors in mideast/cent. asian cooking. I just dug up the recipe I have for fatteh bel djaje and thanked my lucky stars...it's one of my favorites and thought it was lost forever (one copy, skimpy paper, etc.). Do you have a favorite source/cookbook for these types of recipes?

          For our meal, we'll shoot for Cotes du Rhone or Syrah. Sounds like the the Zins I have are all too bold.

          2 Replies
          1. re: King B
            m
            Melanie Wong

            If you noticed the dates of those dinners, they were inspired by currents events and US military actions in those countries. I recall one comment at the Afghani dinner from a friend who had her first taste of these flavors - "if this is what the Afghani people are used to, no wonder they don't want to eat our MREs!" (g)

            The Mespotamian/Iraqi recipes were from various cookbooks. When I had settled on a theme for the dinner, I went to the library (in this case, the Sonoma County library system), did a search on all the Middle Eastern cookbooks, and requested the ones that sounded interesting. There are some interesting older books in the system with more traditional recipes. Wish I could remember the cookbook, but one old one had Syrian, iraqi and Lebanese versions of the same dish. I would pick the Iraqi one whenever possible. Claudia Roden's books were helpful for this too.

            For the Afghani dinner, the recipes came from online sources. I just scanned a bunch of recipe sites. When there were more than one recipe to choose from, I usually picked the one with the most ingredients and steps, feeling that it would be the most authentic and the least dumbed down for modern cooks. My recollection is that these were often from British sources.

            It was a fun challenge to assemble the recipes for our group (I had help with the cooking), and to match it up with a suitable wine theme. Because there are no traditional pairings, you don't have to follow any rules and can make up your own matches.

            Please let us know what wine you ultimately tried and how to worked out for you.

            Oh, and please post your recipe on the Home Cooking board. I'd love to see it.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Can't thank you enough for all of the ideas. I will hit the library for some sources. And I did notice the dates and wondered if world events had played a part - your club sounds really interesting, and a lot of fun.

              I've attached below the URL my original fatteh bel djaje post here on CH, in which missmasala somehow came up with the exact recipe I was looking for. (I had been googling this recipe - and CH - for months trying to find it. Hence my search for the hard copy. Tonight, of course, it was at the top of the search results.)

              You'll notice that this recipe, like the ones you ended up choosing, has a lot of steps. Seems to me your feeling is right regarding authenticity - you'll see from her post that it's a pretty direct source. It's worth a try, believe me.

              Always enjoy your posts. Thanks again for the tips!

              Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          2. Sidi Brahim!

            (If you can get it.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Pantagruel
              m
              Melanie Wong

              But of course! And perhaps even more tuned into the flavors of the Levant, Chateau Musar from Lebanon.

              Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...