Top 4 wines under AED100 (column 12)

Luca Gagliardi - Wines in UAE - #FooDivaVino

Meet sommelier Luca Gagliardi, GM at Pierchic

Summer has arrived too early this year and coupled with our last column before Ramadan kicks in, I am dedicating this month to wines that are great to drink indoors, with the ever welcome breeze from our beloved air conditioning system. Our four wines come from two outstanding regions in France that I very much love, and are typically paired with great food.

One region is probably the most well known in the world; of course we are talking of Bordeaux, much admired by many people for their Cabernet and Merlot-based wines. However, not many know that Bordeaux is also excellent for amazing white wines, based on Sauvignon and Semillon grapes.

The art of blending is very common and we will discover some terrific and unusual grape varieties. The more blends in a wine, the more layers of complexity in the flavour, and also the more balance between the colour, the tannin, the acidity and alcohol. This doesn’t mean that grapes can’t stand on their own, because there are some outstanding wines made with a single grape variety, like white and red Burgundy.

The other region, Roussilon, is lesser known in France for producing dry wines, as it is famed more for its vins doux naturels. However, in the last 15 years, the quality of the dry wines and even more so the red wines, has improved considerably, and in some way, due to the proximity with Spain, these wines are more Spanish in style than French.

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 12th column, with top 4 wines under AED100 including tax. Do you enjoy blends or do you veer towards single grape varieties?

Let us know what you think in the comments or on social media using the hashtag #FooDivaVino. If you missed them, here are the previous columns. Cin cin 🙂

  • Les Vigne de Bila-Haut, White, M. Chapoutier, France, 2014Wines in UAE - #FooDivaVino - FooDiva: Dry white Cote de Roussillon wines are finally having their moment and many wine aficionados are paying notice. For many years people didn’t like the big, blowsy wines that came mostly from the Grenache Blanc. However, this Chapoutier blend with the rare pink-skinned Grenache Gris and the Macabeu with its herbal and floral aromas makes this wine outstandingly fresh, mineral and fruity. I would pair it with Spanish dishes such as cod a la Catalan, which is served with tomatoes, peppers, anchovies, garlic and olive oil. Another of my favourite dishes that marries well with this wine is the Catalan cargolada – snails grilled in their shells with salt, pepper and lard. AED57 + tax from MMI.
  • Bordeaux Blanc, Chartron La Fleur, France, 2015This Bordeaux Blanc is made entirely from Sauvignon Blanc, however it is nothing like those typical to the new world or New Zealand, nor your Sancerre or Pouilly Fume. Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc can sometimes be confused for a Chardonnay as it expresses more subtle aromatic flavours, however is still very fresh, with floral and stone fruit flavours. Lately, I have been cooking plenty of vegetarian starters, so this would pair perfectly with steamed cauliflower or broccoli served with tzatziki dips, ricotta crostini or whole UAE tomatoes stuffed with couscous salad. AED63 + tax from A&E.
  • Les Vigne de Bila-Haut, Red, M. Chapoutier, France, 2014: This wine is definitely one of my favourites, not only because of its terrific value but also for the hard-to-beat quality. Since it comes from an area that is not very well known, it is the wine to look out for when dining out or when in the wine shop. The blend is an even split between Syrah and Grenache with 10 per cent Carignan, so expect juicy black and red fruits, rich and intense pepper, violet and herbs, with its medium body. It works very well with Hachis Parmentier, a French version of the famous English shepherd’s or cottage pie, but uses confit de canard instead of lamb and beef. AED57 + tax from MMI.
  • Private Reserve, Medoc, Schroder & Schyler, France, 2012: Schroder & Schyler is one of the oldest family-owned Bordeaux producers that are behind this label for the white Chartron La Fleur. The blend here is 70 per cent Cabernet, 20 per cent Merlot and 10 per cent Cabernet Franc. It’s a proper Medoc blend, where the wines are full bodied, brimming with black and red fruits, and well balanced with great acidity and tannins. This wine would probably be your best entry-level Bordeaux, where you begin to get the particular flavours and aromas distinctive of the region’s left bank. Typical pairings with Bordeaux blends are dishes with high protein to perfectly match and balance the tannin structure. Red meat is, of course, the most succulent marriage and any cut will do, however I particular love inexpensive cuts such as sirloin steak, cooked in a pan with rosemary, garlic and olive oil, and finished in the oven to keep it tender and medium rare. It also pairs well with great hard cheeses such as Italian Pecorinos and Parmigiano Reggiano. AED70 + tax from A&E.

Monviso WaterWHO IS LUCA GAGLIARDI? Sommelier by birth, and Michelin-starred trained maître d’, Luca is GM of Pierchic. His CV spans a decade to the service of world-renowned chef Gordon Ramsay, followed by 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 luca@tastedandrated.com

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