Archive | December 2015

Brangelina’s latest venture in Provence

Today I’m trying out Brangelina’s latest venture – Miraval rosé. Normally, I would run away from a celebrity wine, but this is a seriously well-made rosé. Obviously, it’s not actually Brad or Angelina who are making the wine, but rather Famille Perrin – the family behind the renowned Château Beaucastel which produces excellent Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines. So the stars of Hollywood team up with the stars of the wine world for this rosé!

Miraval is a Côtes de Provence rosé, which is typically light and dry and can be enjoyed with light foods like salads and seafood or on their own as an aperitif. This is the perfect wine to drink on a hot summer’s day!

Miraval doesn’t come in a typical Provence bottle or even a regular wine bottle – the shape resembles rather that of a Ruinart Champagne.

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It’s not just the bottle that’s attractive. The color of the wine is in itself gorgeous – a bright copper color, similar Domaine Tempier Bandol rosé, which has got to be my all time favorite rosé. (See: Welcoming summer, Provence style! to read my recent post on that wine.)

DSC01249Note to self: Buy some smaller wine glasses. These glasses are as big as the bottle!

I’m drinking a 2014, which is very fruity with dominant aromas of mature red berries, especially strawberries (on the macerated or candied side). The mouth is round and smooth; yet it is balanced very nicely with acidity, giving it a lot of freshness. Not as complex as Domaine Tempier but definitely more so than the average Provence rosé. This is a well-made wine (even Robert Parker gave it 91 points)! Though not cheap. I paid about 18 or 19 € for this bottle at the duty-free (and I imagine it’s more expensive at the stores – it costs a whopping 150aed in Abu Dhabi, which is roughly 40 bucks). Even at the duty-free price level, it is a bit more than what I would normally pay for a Provence rosé, even if this bottle is above the bar. I guess the Brangelina brand doesn’t come cheap. But having said that, even at this price, I would purchase this wine again.

Now for the food! As a said in the beginning, this is not strictly a food wine and I could easily drink it on its own or just with some olives if I’m sitting in a bar. I have some fantastic green olives from Turkey that are salty yet light because the brine has lemon juice and wedges. These olives worked really well with the wine.

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I’m actually loving all things salty with this wine. In order for salt to work with wine, it’s important to choose a wine that’s low in tannins (in the case of reds) and high in acidity, which this wine is.

I’m also serving some lakerda (or salt cured bonito) that I brought back from my last trip to Greece. Unlike a typical lakerda, this one is also smoked. Smoked fish generally pairs well with rosés because smoky elements in the food complements fruitiness in wines superbly.

I am also really loving a bit of spice with this wine because it provides a nice contrast the dominant sweet aromas and the fruitiness of the wine. So I sprinkled some cracked black pepper on the lakerda. At the same time, it’s important to keep the spiciness of the food on the mild side; otherwise the heat will overpower the wine.

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A variety of seafood dishes besides the lakerda would go really well with the Miraval. I decided on a tuna crudo dish that I’m serving with wasabi oil, sliced radish, and greens. I included the wasabi oil and the radish in the dish to provide the light spicy elements that go so well with the Miraval. I loved this dish! And it is so easy to prepare.

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I could have easily served salmon instead of tuna and it would be have worked just as well with the wine. And with both fish sashimi, sushi or tartare would’ve worked equally well. However, if you decide to opt for seared or grilled fish rather than raw, I think a bolder rosé or a red – especially pinot noir and chinon; or even syrah if there are enough char marks – would work better.

Rosé wine also surprisingly goes really well with middle eastern foods, like hummus and eggplant dip. I am very lucky to be living in a country where Lebanese food is ubiquitous. I got some take out from my favorite spot, which just happens to be next door to me 🙂 This place makes my favorite hummus in Abu Dhabi.

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And the moutabal, which is a fire-roasted eggplant dip made with tahini.

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The smokiness that comes from the roasted eggplant works especially well with the rosé, similar to the smoked fish. They usually serve moutabal with pomegranate seeds and this is exactly as a result of how well smoky and fruity flavors work together.

Finally the raheb, which is a lighter roasted eggplant salad with olive oil, tomatoes, and peppers.

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To add a bit of spice, I sprinkled some piment d’espelette to the dips. Piment d’espelette is a mild chili powder made from the Basque region of France. The added spice from the piment really made the pairings amazing!

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Rosé is such a versatile wine that depending on the style, it can go with such a wide variety of foods. And it is my favorite summer drink (and it’s always summer in Abu Dhabi) so what better way to spend the warmer months experimenting with different rosés and foods and see which pairings work well and which do not! The semester is just about to end and I think I’m gonna make this my project for the winter break. There’s nothing better than having a glass of rosé and enjoying the views.

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For lots more pictures of food and wine, check out my Instagram account:@thatperfectbottle

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