Top 4 wines under AED60 (column 11)

Sommelier Luca Gagliardi - Dubai sommeliers - FooDiva - #FooDivaVino

Meet sommelier Luca Gagliardi

This month, I am exchanging our regular under AED100 wine column with top four value wines under AED60, including tax. I wish I could bring it to under AED50 but the 30% tax ruins that hope!

April brings lots of joy to the garden. Between barbeques, kids parties and celebrations with friends and family, we really need to keep an eye on our budget. These particular wines, most often, boast great visuals through their distinctive labels. Quality must always be mandatory no matter how eye-catching the label. A couple of decades ago these wines with these labels were synonymous with poor quality, and were not perceived well by old-fashioned sommeliers like myself, as most of the wine estates tried to be classic in style. However, the new world is creating many more funky labels and today this mentality has gone. Nowadays, there are some outstanding wines with odd yet fun labels. France especially has some remarkable examples, one of which I have selected for this column.

We’re able to bring you this column regularly thanks to our key partner Monviso, the Italian natural mineral water brand with its low sodium content and total dissolved solids (TDS) – available across the UAE at leading supermarkets and restaurants. With all this wine drinking, you need to stay hydrated 🙂

Special thanks 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 eleventh column, with top 4 wines under AED60 including tax. Let us know what you think in the comments or on social media using the hashtag #FooDivaVino. How important is a label to you when selecting wine? If you missed them, here are the previous columns. Cin cin 🙂

  • Wines in UAE - FooDiva - #FooDivaVinoPinot Grigio, Yellow Tail, Australia, 2015: Yellow Tail is the most well known Australian wine brand in the world. The Casella family created Yellow Tail with the idea of producing uncomplicated daily drinking wine – fresh, zesty and light. It’s very easy to recognise with the kangaroo on the label; a wine best enjoyed chilled on hot days. As it’s a simple wine, the food pairing should be simple, from couscous and vegetable salads, to crunchy crudités with tzatziki dips and tomato bruschetta – all the goodies that we can make before fireing up the barbeque. AED44 + tax from MMI.
  • Sauvignon Blanc, Dusky Sounds, New Zealand, 2015: Sauvignon Blanc is one of the top three most loved grape varieties in the world. It sometimes seems like we are inundated with New Zealand Sauvignon, and yes, here’s another one. However, there are not many that can keep quality at this price point without ending up as bulk wines. This Sauvignon expresses the typical aromas of Marlborough such as gooseberry, peach, kiwi and passion fruit – and also boasts good minerality and acidity. Made from a great producer, Mud House, the label reflects the wealth of the birds that fly in the region. Like the Pinot Grigio, it pairs well with appetisers and canapés, such as guacamole dips, goat’s cheese crostini, pickled vegetables and pastrami rolls. AED45 + tax from A&E.
  • Grenache-Syrah, Flying Solo, Domaine Gayda, France, 2015: Since this wine arrived in Dubai, it has become one of my favourites when I dine at casual, convivial restaurants across town. The quality value is perfect for a sommelier with a low budget, as I love the aromatic fruit flavours of cherries and strawberries, the smooth texture, and the hints of spices and herbs. It’s from the Domaine Gayda, a new generation of winemakers in the Languedoc region, who love and respect the area by adopting a sustainable approach to agriculture. The label is not French at all. Instead of the typical château design, the artwork is dedicated to France’s pioneering Aéropostale pilots from the beginning of the 20th century. Let it become your choice when dining out, otherwise, impress your guests with an Arabic-style barbeque of shish taouk skewers, Iranian chelo kebabs, and mint and cumin-spiced lamb chops – all served rigorously with saffron rice and pickled vegetables. AED44 + tax from MMI.
  • Primitivo, Da Luca, Italy, 2013I came across this wine when a friend bought me a bottle, and I was fascinated by the incredible label. Firstly, it partly boasts my name (!), and secondly because of the much-loved in Italy – Neapolitan cards. This wine, like the Dusky Sounds, is from a very large Australian wine company that specialises in affordable value wines. Medium to full body, this Primitivo showcases black cherries, liquorice and spices. I would serve it with Indian food, such as tandoori chicken skewers and chicken tikka masala. AED40 + tax from A&E.

Monviso-FooDivaWHO 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 restaurants and bars including Roberto’s, Iris, Solo and R Trader. In his spare time, Luca is in his state-of-the-art home kitchen cooking for friends and discovering new wines, typically anything but rosé! You can follow him on his wine blog Tasted and Rated, Twitter at @sommelierdubai and on Instagram at @tastedandrated – or for wine consultancy services via email at

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