Wine Mania and Hummus in One Meal? 9 Delectable Wines & Middle Eastern Pairings

Teaming up hummus and wine is only the starting point. Middle Eastern cuisine offers a variety of meals with lots of fresh ingredients that go well with a variety of wines.

Additionally, it is highly adaptable! While some Middle Eastern dishes include meat, many are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. With the variety you have, which includes various ways of getting to different types of food from this region of the world – by yourself in markets or online via reputable organic meal deliveries worth your money and taste – along with versatile prep methods, you can probably match it with a wide range of wines.

The material in this post will help you understand some traditional Middle Eastern cuisine and the wine that goes well with it.

Starting with the Fundamentals

Middle Eastern food frequently emphasizes particular components, especially spices and herbs, which are excellent building blocks for wine pairings.

Here are some guidelines for combining wine and Middle Eastern cuisine:

  • Many different herbs and spices are used in Middle Eastern cuisine. The intense taste of the food should be matched by the wine.
  • If the dish includes meat that has been cooked in a sauce, pair wine with it.
  • Raw onion and garlic are widely used in Middle Eastern cuisine. The harshness of these notes will be mellowed by the high acidity of crisp white wines without being hidden.

Here, you may find the ideal wines to pair with some of the most popular Middle Eastern cuisines based on a particular ingredient. Knowing these ingredients will help you become more used to Middle Eastern cuisine. Additionally, it will assist you in developing your own complimentary dishes:

  • Parsley: Sauvignon Blanc or Grüner Veltliner (herbaceous whites with acidity);
  • Cilantro: Albariño or Verdejo (aromatic whites with acidity);
  • Onion: Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio (crisp white wines);
  • Garlic: Grüner Veltliner or Sauvignon Blanc (herbaceous whites with acidity);
  • Tahini (sesame paste): riper Riesling, Viognier, or Fiano (aromatic or nutty whites);
  • Cumin: sparkling rosé, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Barbera, or Syrah /with red meat/ (refreshing whites, sparkling whites, or earthy reds);
  • Harissa (chili paste with spices): Gewürztraminer or off-dry/dry Riesling or Grüner Veltliner (dry or off-dry aromatic whites);
  • Lemon: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling /Mosel Valley style/, or Assyrtiko (citrusy whites with high acidity).

9 Outstanding Wine and Food Pairings from the Middle East

Israel, Lebanon, Algeria, Turkey, Tunisia, and Morocco all have a long history of producing wine, as do other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

These nations also produce exquisite wines that go perfectly with their food. Even if they are excellent, they can be difficult to find beyond their borders. As a result, we have included below nine mouthwatering combinations of Middle Eastern cuisine and more widely available wines.

# 1 Falafel & Fruity Whites

Try pairing falafel the next time you have it with round, fruity white wines like Viognier or Grenache Blanc, as well as crisp whites like Sauvignon Blanc.

Why it works: Sauvignon Blanc’s herbaceous/acidity blend pairs well with the garlic, spices, and herbs in falafel alongside the herbs and veggies in a falafel sandwich. Additionally, the acidity balances the salty taste.

Richer white wines with tastes of stone fruit go nicely with falafel when they are accompanied by tahini and similar creamy sauces, where the consistency is akin.

# 2 Hummus (the Type of Wine Depends on the Hummus Flavor)

Depending on what the hummus is accompanied by and how it tastes, you should choose a particular wine to combine with it.

  • Classic hummus & fragrant whites or dry Rosé

Consider a fresh, fragrant white wine like Assyrtiko or Albariño, or a medium-bodied dry rosé wine.

Why it works: The crisp whites’ acidity like Albariño’s cuts through the richness and softens the garlic in the hummus. However, rosé wines with some smoothness pair well with the hummus’ creamy consistency and cleanse the palette.

  • Spicy hummus & fragrant whites

Combine with off-dry, fragrant white wines like Gewürztraminer and Riesling.

Why it works: The above-mentioned wines’ sugar and cooler temperature help to soothe the tongue, and the scent improves the flavor.

  • Italian herb hummus & dry reds

Barbera or Sangiovese are good companion wines for this sort of hummus.

Why it works: The herbal aromas of dried herbs and oregano in Barbera and Sangiovese are complemented by thyme and rosemary. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol because it could make the hummus taste bland. 

  • Red bell pepper hummus & earthy reds

Try earthy reds like Pinot Noir and Loire-style Cabernet Franc.

Why it works: The earthy and somewhat sweet flavor of roasted red pepper complements the fruity and earthy qualities of Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir.

# 3 Kebab/Gyro Sandwiches & Bubbly Whites or Dark-Fruit Reds

Numerous wines pair well with these classics since they span a wide range of flavors. Whites with bubbles and reds with dark fruit, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Tempranillo, are good places to start.

Why it works: Although these two types of wine could not be more dissimilar from one another, they both improve the kebab. Kebabs are frequently fatty and salty, so sparkling white wines offer a pleasant alternative.

They balance the salt and cut through the fat while still offering a cool complement to the Tzatziki, herbs, and onions.

With regard to dark-fruit red wines, the meat’s fat will be trimmed by the wine’s tannins. Additionally, the fruit will enhance the rotisserie flavors and seasonings.

# 4 Tabouli & Zesty Wines

The type of wine you serve with this vegan salad should be adjusted based on its flavor and components. Consider zesty and herbaceous white wines like Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Grüner Veltliner.

Why it works: To combat the acidity of the lime juice and tomatoes, you will require a high-acid white wine, which will also soothe the garlic. The wine’s herbaceous notes are exquisitely complemented by the onion and parsley.

# 5 Baklava & Sweet Whites

Sweet white wines like late harvested Gewürztraminer, sweet Muscat, and Sauternes, plus sweet bubbly wines like Doux Champagne – the sweetest of all champagnes, pair nicely with the dessert’s sweetness.

Why it works: Baklava often contains a lot of sugar. Generally speaking, you want to be sure the wine is not less than as sweet as the baklava, if not sweeter. The sweetness of the wine will appear less sweet because of the amount of sugar in the dessert.

A sweet Gewürztraminer will match the strength of more strongly flavored baklava, such as those made with spices, orange blossom, or rose water, and enhance aromatic aromas with its notes of rose and lychee.

# 6 Baba Ghanoush & Acidic Whites or Fruity Reds

This eggplant dish pairs wonderfully with crisp, acidic white wines. Try Syrah for its spicy, smokey aromas, Assyrtiko, Pinot Grigio, Provence-style rosé, or Sauvignon Blanc, as well as fruity red wines like Negroamaro and Primitivo.

Why it works: Assyrtiko’s sharp acidity and citrus notes contrast the creamy purée nicely and go well with the salad’s garlic, pomegranate, and lemon flavors.

The smokiness of Syrah highlights the smoky aromas of the grilled eggplant, but you should watch the alcohol content and tannin content to prevent the wine from overpowering the dish. In case of dispute, Provençe-style rosé has a fruity acidity.

# 7 Tzatziki & Crisp Whites or Earthy Reds

With crisp white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Trebbiano, and Assyrtiko, this fresh white sauce pairs beautifully. When paired with red meat, it also goes well with fruity, earthy reds like Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc.

Why it works: Sauvignon Blanc’s and Assyrtiko’s dry acidity softens raw garlic while enhancing the dip’s cucumber and herbal smells.

The earthiness goes nicely with the cucumber and herbs in the tzatziki while the fruity scents suit the grilled flavors of red meat when served with them.

# 8 Couscous

Couscous’ fragrant broth goes nicely with aromatic, off-dry whites like Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, or Riesling; or flowery or fruity rosé wines from Faugères or Tavel (Mourvèdre, Syrah, Grenache, etc.), as well as herbaceous, fruity reds like Grenache, Côtes du Rhône, Zinfandel, or Barbera.

Why it works: For couscous with sour and sweet components, such as those incorporating caramelized chili paste, onions, or raisins, an off-dry white will have sugar that is similar to the sweetness of the dish, while a white wine like Riesling will have scents that can compete with those in the broth.

With chicken, red meat, or vegetarian couscous, riper rosé wines with fruity and flowery notes are a pleasant combination that enhances the spices in the dish.

Finally, fruit-forward reds’ tannins will help them cut through the fat in the meat, especially when served with beef or lamb couscous. Additionally, the fruity and herbaceous qualities of these plants will blend well with the spices and smells.

# 9 Stuffed Peppers & Fruity or Herbal Reds

Try fruity reds with mild to moderate acidity like Primitivo or Barbera, as well as herbal or peppery reds like Syrah, Sangiovese, or Cabernet Franc (with red meat) for stuffed peppers. Bandol is also a good place to look for full-bodied rosé wines.

Why it works: The cooking process for this dish significantly reduces the acidity of the tomatoes. A fruity red wine like Barbera will therefore balance the acidity and enhance the sweetness without overloading the meal with tannins. Additionally, the herbs in the dish will be enhanced by herbs and the black pepper in the Barbera.

The fruitiness, herbaceous flavor, and roundness of a southern rosé wine such as Bandol will complement the dish’s robustness while still being refreshing.

To create a harmonious balance in strength, aromas, and tannins when paired with red meat, Cabernet Franc will add flavors of capsicum, Sangiovese flavors of oregano and roasted tomato, while Syrah will add pepperiness.

Cultures Meeting Wine – Pairings

A truly cosmopolitan experience can be had by combining wine and Middle Eastern cuisine. When you realize how well the cuisines of Lebanon, Turkey, and numerous other countries pair with wines from Italy, France, and other regions, no meal pairing should be intimidating.

Step outside and experiment with a few of your own pairings! What have you thought of? Which ones do you like best?

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