How to Pair Wine with Classic Persian Dishes

Fragrant, fruity and herbaceous, Persian dishes provide the perfect the perfect canvas for pairing wines from red to sparkling.
Photo by Penny De Los Santos / Styling by Mariana Velasquez

As the weather turns cold, stay in with a spread of Persian dishes that offer abundant notes of warm and earthy spice. A classic menu has vibrant color and flavor, but it’s more familiar than you might think: a couple of dips adorned with fresh herbs, nuts and rose petals; vermillion-tinged saffron chicken kebabs; and a hot, crispy appetizer made with potatoes. These dishes provide a canvas for wines ranging from red to bubbly. Each dish can be served individually or presented all together as a meal with any of the wines recommended below.

Something Spicy

A dip or spread with a little heat keeps guests snacking and snipping. Borani-bademjan is a deeply flavored counterpart to baba ganoush: Garlicky roasted eggplant is garnished with fried shallots, walnuts, red chili flake, fresh herbs and sometimes pomegranate molasses.

The Wine: Look for a light-bodied red like Pinot Noir to complement the richness in this dish.

Something Meaty

Chicken kebabs are a perfect protein-packed party food—hearty, tasty and easily hand held. Persian jujeh kebab are boosted by a flavorful marinade of yogurt, saffron, olive oil, lemon juice and grated shallots.

The Wine: Charred chicken calls for a wine with light tannins and vibrant acidity. A copper-hued, skin-contact wine will fit the bill nicely.

Jujeh Kebab

Something Starchy

Fried potatoes go beautifully with just about any dish and give a meal bulk and comfort. Kuku sibzamini potato fritters are infused with intense currents of saffron and turmeric.

The Wine: Fried food and bubbles are a natural match. The light effervescence and mild funk found in a pétillant-naturel offsets the richness of the fritters.

Something Cool

The combination of cucumber and yogurt adds a refreshing note. Think Greek tzatziki and raita from India, Bangladesh or Pakistan. Persian mast-o-khiar is topped with olive oil, mint and fragrant rose-petal dust.

The Wine: Provençal rosé, with its refreshing aromas of wild strawberry and lemon, complements the creamy dip.

Published on August 28, 2018
Topics: Wine Pairings

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