Top 4 wines under AED100
We start a new season with a new bi-monthly wine column on FooDiva written by Luca Gagliardi, one of Dubai’s most seasoned sommeliers, who I have known since his early days here at Gordon Ramsay’s Verre in 2001. Now he’s the general manager at R Trader in DIFC.
Our objectives are two-fold. Firstly, a good bottle of wine does not have to be expensive, and we will prove that by sharing four great wines every couple of weeks that you can buy at MMI and A&E (or duty free) all under AED100 including tax. Secondly, the column is about making wine relevant to you. So we won’t be sharing dreary and often intimidating tasting notes which you can find online anywhere, but some trivia and practical food pairing tips.
Just a note on the vintages – in this category of wines, the younger the better, so if the years we have tried here are not available, fret not, the newly released vintages are just as good.
So voila, here’s our first column. Naturally, it contains references to alcohol, and is therefore only for reading if you are of a legal drinking age in your country of residence (in the UAE that’s 21 years) and non-Muslim.
Let us know what you think in the comments or on social media using the hashtag #FooDivaVino. As Luca would say back home in Italy, ‘cin cin’ 🙂
- Macon-Villages Les Florieres, Cave de Lugny, Chardonnay, France, 2014 – rather than splurging on a Chablis, the Macons are the best buy Chardonnays from the iconic Bourgogne region in France. By way of a surprising bit of wine trivia, Chablis is made of Chardonnay. Treat yourself to a bottle for a show-stopping dinner party at home and serve this full-bodied, intense grape, alongside a table of delectable oysters, fresh seafood, cured salmon and sole meuniere. My personal go-to dish with this wine is oven-baked whole sea bass or sea bream with a Mediterranean tomato and olive-based sauce. AED75 + tax from MMI.
- Angel Cove, Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand, 2014 – by far the most known white grape variety around, Sauvignon Blanc, native to the Loire Valley in France, also grows well in the Marlborough region of New Zealand (famed for the iconic Cloudy Bay Sauvignon). This wine, made fashionable in the second millennium, is a staple in any well stocked wine fridge and is the perfect tipple for special occasions or the grape of choice for a girl’s night in. Great with crudités, melted Saint-Marcellin cheese, pastrami and pickled cucumber on toasted rye bread or a goat’s cheese and balsamic salad. AED70 + tax from A&E.
- Santa Julia, Malbec, Argentina, 2014 – make no mistake, this wine is probably the UAE’s best buy. This palate-pleasing grape variety has got everyone talking, and a glass or two of the Malbec will ensure a cocktail party to remember. Canapés that pair well would be a salmon mousse tartine, tomato bruschetta, caprese skewers, mushrooms on toast and veal tonnato. For something more filling, it makes a great companion to a Tex-Mex-Indian fusion dish of chilli con carne with yoghurt and basmati rice. AED36 + tax from MMI.
- Stonehedge, Merlot, California, USA, 2013 – if the bitter taste of tannins and dryness leaves your palate less than impressed, this merlot is for you. Fruity, smooth and uber drinkable, it’s a great go-to grape for easy drinking whilst watching a movie, or after a nice dinner. This merlot is a perfect pairing for a cheese fondue night, oven-roasted lamb cutlets, roasted chicken with all the trimmings, and even chocolate desserts. AED66 + tax from A&E.
WHO IS LUCA GAGLIARDI? Sommelier by birth, and Michelin-starred trained maître d’, Luca dedicated a decade to the service of world-renowned chef Gordon Ramsay. His CV boasts an impressive list of success stories including Roberto’s, Iris, Solo and now at R Trader as general manager with Dubai’s first authentic speakeasy bar. In his spare time, Luca is in his state-of-the-art home kitchen cooking for friends and discovering new wines, anything but rosé! You can follow him on Twitter at @sommelierdubai or on Instagram at @simonelucagagliardi
— FooDiva (@FooDivaWorld) August 17, 2016