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May 16, 2012 03:59 PM

Wine Pairing Recommendation Needed

I'm going to an Algerian (similar to Moroccan) dinner week with the following menu:

•Salads, Felfel, Hummus, and Harissa
•Kesra (Semolina bread made by Algerian Berbers in the Kabylia)
•Harirra (Lentil Soup)
•Merguez Sausage and Leg of Lamb Mechoui
•Beef, Lamb and Chicken Tagine in the Style of Setif Berbers
•Sweet Couscous and Almond Baklava
•Mint Tea – Simple syrup base (sherbet) with torn and crushed mint leaves

Any suggestions for a wine pairing?

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  1. I think high acidity wines would work well. Green apple, bright white wines, and bright cherry, slightly spicy red wines.

    Whites - Pinot Gris/Grigio, Sancerre, Vinho Verde,
    Reds - Italian Reds - Sangiovese blends/varietals or maybe Barbera

    1 Reply
    1. re: goldangl95

      I agree with the Sangiovese /blends for red wines with these foods.
      We've liked Finger Lakes Riesling with similar meze that you mentioned.

    2. Per goldangl95's recommendation above, do mix it up with whites and reds. We had a few Rhone reds (old Cote Rotie, CdP and Gigondas, and younger generic Cote du Rhone) with a simpler Middle Eastern menu - somewhat like your first three courses plus simple meat kebabs. The wines were good but they overwhelmed our food. With your menu, however, I think they may work very well with tagine and merguez.

      A sweet Tokaji (5 /6 puttonyos?) would go wonderfully with the baklava.

      1. Speaking to the savory items on the menu first and assuming that the dishes are lower in fattiness I would definitely avoid tannins. For the first three courses I'd go with more generous whites like Vouvray, Marsanne, Viognier which all register on the palate broadly and can therefore compete with the spices. For the protein I go with Syrah or other Rhone red wines due to again lower tannins and fruitiness.
        Personally I might flip the "Mint Tea" to after the Beef, Lamb and Chicken Tagine to allow it to serve as a palate cleanser before dessert. I'd pair nothing with the sherbet and do a sweet sherry with dessert.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chinon00

          Apologies, but I believe Syrah is a rather high tannin wine, plus the super dark fruits don't go very well, in my experience, with tomato based dishes or ones with lots of citrus/lemony acidic flavors.

          I'm less familiar with pairing plusher stone-fruit whites, with foods with lots of lemon juice, oil, tomato. I imagine a Vouvray would work, but am less sure about Marsanne or Viognier.

          1. re: goldangl95

            You are right. Don't know what I was thinking. Guess it was more of the fruit forwardness that I was thinking about. Don't drink tons of Syrah but that's what I recalled. Won't forget now tho';]

        2. Perhaps both white and red Musar?

          1. North African restaurants in France usually offer a Tunisian or Moroccan rosé -- thus a crisp rosé would be my suggestion.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sunshine842

              Great idea, sunshine842. A good Tavel or something like that would pair well with some of those items on the menu.