Top 4 wines under AED100 (column 4)

Sommelier Luca Gagliardi - Dubai sommeliers - FooDiva - #FooDivaVino

Meet sommelier Luca Gagliardi

In the fourth edition of this wine column, I am delighted to introduce a unique and surprising mix of new and old world wines, all of which are tried, tasted and approved by the endless guests who have graced my dining table recently. Because is there anything finer in life than great food, great company and even better, great wine?

As always, it is fantastic to read your feedback on food pairings, featured wines and your own recommendations – much appreciated.

Special thanks as usual to both MMI and A&E where you can buy these wines, in addition to duty free of course. As usual, please note this column contains references to alcohol, and is therefore only for reading if you are of a legal drinking age in your country of residence (21 years in the UAE) and non-Muslim.

So here’s our fourth wine column with four wines under AED100 (including tax!). Let us know what you think in the comments or on social media using the hashtag #FooDivaVino. If you missed them, here are the links to the firstsecond and third wine columns. Cin cin 🙂

Vouvray wine - Wines in the UAE - #FooDivaVinoNero_d'Avola wine - Wines in the UAE - #FooDivaVinoCuvee-Trois-Grappes-Blanc-Laroche - Wines in the UAE - #FooDivaVinoCasa-Cabernet-Sauvignon-Lapostolle - Wines in the UAE - #FooDivaVino

  • Vouvray, Domaine de Vaufuget, France, 2014 – Vouvray is an appellation in the Loire department of France made using the Chenin Blanc grape variety. I would consider this wine a connoisseur’s choice. In the last column, one reader commented on the discovery of old favourites, so I hope he will enjoy this tipple. I am always amazed by the flavours of Chenin with its unique quince and acacia honey notes. It matches very well with cheese-based dishes such as bacon and cheese quiche, buffalo mozzarella caprese salad, and above all, whole-baked Camembert with garlic and rosemary. AED63 + tax from MMI.
  • Laroche, 3 Grape White, France, 2015 – this wine is produced by the king of Chablis in his ventures in the south of France. Made from the Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Terret grape varieties, the latter native to the Languedoc area. It’s a great value wine, quite aromatic, yet fresh and mineral. It’s a wine that I would definitely have by the glass on my wine list as an entry level offering, and would use as an aperitif, or as the base for the famous Kir cocktail – crème de cassis topped with white wine. It combines well with salty ingredients such as anchovies, so I would probably match it with classic appetisers originating from southern France such as a Nicoise salad or pissaladiere, a puff pastry tart topped with onions, olives and anchovies. In my house, naturally, I would probably go Sicilian, and pair it with a simple spaghetti with anchovies, breadcrumbs and chilli. AED43 + tax from A&E.
  • Nero D’Avola, Cusumano, Italy, 2015 – Nero d’Avola is one of the most important indigenous grape varieties in Sicily, loved by many for its plummy and peppery flavour which sometimes reminds us of a Syrah style. Despite its history, Sicily today is one of the world’s best wine regions, and this wine with its affordable price, is proof. If you love new world wines, but you are interested in the old world, then this under-valued Nerola D’Avola does the trick. Please don’t let its glass cap put you off, as it’s another great alternative to natural cork, just like the screw cap. It makes a great match with spiced dishes like lamb tagine, beef kofta in a rich tomato sauce and Sicilian caponata – an aubergine stew with capers, tomatoes and olives. AED65 + tax from MMI.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Casa Lapostolle, Chile, 2013 – whenever you are on a budget but still looking for quality, flavour, depth and structure, this beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon is the way to go. Despite the price, this Cabernet will always shine in a blind taste because it has all the characteristics of a great wine. The reality is that Chile has a fantastic terroir for wine making and affordable prices to match. Its dark fruit and tannins always complement red meat, so have it on a churrasco night either on a BBQ outside in your garden, or with a rib-eye cooked in the oven with garlic and thyme. My preferred pairing style is with home-made empanadas of chunky beef, onions, carrots, olives and raisins. AED56 + tax from A&E.

With the new harvesting season starting, for the next column, I will be stepping sceptically into new territory with highly controversial rose wines – stay tuned 🙂

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

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