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Dec 21, 2008 11:43 AM

Wine newbie, what to pair with medeterranian food? (Shawarma, falafel, rice, potato)

MODS: please don't move this to some other section because I'm inquiring about wines readily available at the LCBO only.

Hi folks -- I know absolutely NOTHING about wine, in fact, I can say that I've never had a wine that wasn't about $7 and poured from a box... But I've been asked by someone to pick a wine for dinner later tonight, and I only have 90 mins until the LCBO closes.

I need something that is going to go well with things like chicken shawarma, falafel, rice, potatoes, and a caesar salad. I'm also thinking that a good pick for tonight would work with greek food as well; like a chicken souvlaki dinner, etc.

Does anybody have any suggestions for me that I can go run to the LCBO and pick up? Hell, if its a good pairing, maybe I will finally start to appreciate wine and can only grow from here. Otherwise, I'll probably be a beer guy forever :)

I appreciate the help, any quick responses will come in very handy!

Thanks in advance!

Oh, and hopefully it wont break the bank... No $100 bottles for me yet, since I doubt I could appreciate it


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  1. That's the sort of thing I like with a dry rose. Montes makes a rose called Cherub - not the most manly-looking bottle to show up with under your arm, but it would probably go well with that dinner. Definitely not a budget-breaker. If your LCBO has a Vintages section, just ask someone that works there for some help - there are lots of good dry roses out now
    You could also go with a bottle of cheap bubbly - seriously, goes with anything. Segura Viudas and Codorniu are solid labels at ~$15 or under.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Wahooty

      Actually others keep telling me to ask in the LCBO -- the people working there would know something like that?

      Thank you for the suggestions! Much appreciated :)

      1. re: duckdown

        Try a Zinfandel. The Rancho Zabaco is a decent bargain.

        Your first choice of beer is more than likely your best choice.

      2. re: Wahooty

        I'm not a big drinker or wine connoisseur and I'm always the designated driver, but I agree with Wahooty about the bubbly. I'll often order a glass of Prosecco with Mediterranean food. In think any good-quality sparkling wine would be suitable.

      3. So what did you end up getting Duckdown?

        11 Replies
        1. re: Googs

          I took your advice and tried getting the Zinfandel; problem is, that one wasn't available at either of the two LCBO's nearby (I checked online for stock, and looked in-store)

          So I asked a woman in the vintages department and she reccomended a white wine at first, so I told her I was told maybe a zinfandel and she chose me some $9.95 bottle of Fetzer 2007 zinfandel.. I checked the reviews online and they were kind of mediocre, so I wasn't expecting much, but it actually wasn't too bad.. Had a few glasses with dinner but finished my night with beer :) Also, I think I didn't chill it enough. I just popped it into the fridge for 5-10mins before pouring and it was barely chilled at all

          Thank you for the advice, disappointing that the Rancho Zabaco is unavailable in my city

          Any other wines you would reccomend for a complete noob? I'd still like to try some new kinds, but I have no idea which ones are good...theres so damn many

          Hell I even saw a Harrison Ford brand wine, and Francis ford coppolla, lol :)

          Merry Christmas!

          1. re: duckdown

            duckdown, you might think about going to one of the lcbo wine appreciation courses, there some at the Scrivener location as well as others -

            I took a longer, more intensive course at George Brown many years ago and it was the most useful evening class I've ever taken. And it was fun!

            1. re: duckdown

              Somehow I can't picture duckdown in a wine appreciation class. Although I would guess you'd enjoy the spitting part. ;-)

              duckdown, as a general rule of thumb, avoid celebrity wines. There are too few exceptions to make it worth the hunt. I say this only assuming there are exceptions as I expect someone to correct me later.

              Next time you're in the mood to partner up your food or mood with wine I and, I imagine, others would be happy to help. I appreciated the shawarma challenge. Very tricky.

              The critic with the most manly leaning tastes is Alan Kerr of Gang Of Pour. You might check out his recs to see if it syncs up with your tastes. He's a 'no bull' kinda guy too.

              And a Happy New Year to you!

              1. re: Googs

                Ha, ha! well we all start somewhere somehow.

                duckdown, if you're not a wine-appreciation-class kind of guy, look out for an extremely useful booklet called Billy's Best Bottles, about $20 or so at most bookstores (Book City, for sure). It's straight-talking, down-to-earth and references lcbo products --

                1. re: Googs

                  I agree about avoiding celebrity wines being a good rule of thumb, but duckdown mentioned Coppola, and I think those are one of the exceptions that prove the rule. Being from Napa, the prices are jacked up hideously at the LCBO, but from what I've had, they're pretty good wines.

                  Duckdown, it sounds like you got saddled with a white zinfandel, which is not what Googs had in mind. There's a lot of good zin out there, but make sure it's red, not pink. I'd love to be proven wrong, but while I've had good pink wine, and good zin, I've never had a good pink zin.

                  1. re: Wahooty

                    Hey duckdown, I couldn't figure out why you couldn't find it. Then I took a look at the LCBO website. The full name is Rancho Zabaco Dancing Bull Zinfandel. They only list it as Dancing Bull. There's plenty in Brampton and Mississauga and even a bit in Bramalea. Sorry about the confusing response you got from me. Their website can be a little iffy even when you know the name what with typos and other weirdness such as symbols instead of letters in the middle of product listings.

                    Anyhoo Dancing Bull is a dollar off until Jan 4 making it a very affordable $10.95 right now. Good luck.

                    1. re: Googs

                      ahh, interesting indeed!

                      i was looking at this:

                      I've been on a medeterranian kick lately, eating shawarma and souvlaki all the time, so i'll be picking up a bottle tomorrow!

                      thanks - and happy new year :) i'll report back...

                      1. re: Googs

                        Googs --

                        found it at a mississauga LCBO today as I was picking up some king cans of beer :) surprisingly my local brampton location has 0 stock, although some of the other brampton locations did have it

                        what temperature would you drink this at? will most likely pop the bottle tonight :)

                        the vintages lady who showed me where the bottle was said that this is one her favorites for eating with barbeque actually... good to hear, because i sure love me some good barbeque too :)


                        1. re: duckdown

                          This is another one of those cases with wine where what you like is the right answer no matter what the "experts" say. The recommended temp is 65 degrees. I personally like it warmer than that. Hubby likes it the rec'd way. Simple. I pour and wait, he drinks right away.

                          Gosh I sure hope you like it after all this. I'd feel pretty bad if you didn't.

                          1. re: Googs

                            dd, for future reference (or comparison), you might try putting it in the fridge for 15-20 min before you drink it. I like my reds just on the cool side of room temp, particularly for something like the Dancing Bull. Although, this time of year, my room is usually the right temperature so I don't bother.

                2. I've always found that a good vinho verde goes remarkably well with Mediterranean cuisine. It's a good cheap and cheerful standby that compliments the food and goes with pretty much anything.