What would Dionysus do?
December 11, 2008 2:23 PM   Subscribe

WineFilter: What wine would you serve with Chicken Tagine with Green Olives and Preserved Lemons?

White wine seems like the obvious choice. We have had a few Greek white wines lately that might be nice. But given the frigid temperatures and the stewed nature of the dish, I think red wine might be more suitable. Any varietal suggestions? The olivey-lemony flavors have me stumped.
posted by picklebird to Food & Drink (20 answers total)
I'd go for a light red like a Cotes du Rhone, Malbec or something like a Grenache-syrah blend. A sparkling wine like cava could be nice too.
posted by leslies at 2:30 PM on December 11, 2008

posted by Zambrano at 3:04 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think I'd go for a Riesling.

Maybe a Vouvray? (I'm probably spelling that wrong.)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:05 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Perhaps something chewy and earthy like a Chianti Classico? That should stand up well to the Mediterranean palate.
posted by jim in austin at 3:06 PM on December 11, 2008

i was going to suggest a dry sparkling wine, too. nothing too expensive, since the flavors of the dish are strong.
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:06 PM on December 11, 2008

You need acid to fight cut the oil and compete with the lemon. Maybe an assyrtiko, from Santorini?
posted by nicwolff at 3:13 PM on December 11, 2008

Hmmm, I made a tagine very similar to this (veggie version) for T-Day and a more robust California chardonney actually worked pretty well. The oak in the wine countered the very strong citrus/vinegar pretty well. Other white options may be a kind of heavy Sauvignon Blanc (look for a darker color).

However, for a red, you could also try one of the classic Italian wines for antipasto, like a Dolcetto d'Alba. Or go the opposite direction and pick a really strong flavored wine like a Tempranillo-based Spanish red (although I think a Rioja would be too strong). A Piedmont wine like a Barolo or a Barbaresco might be nice too, but they are pretty pricey.
posted by elendil71 at 3:28 PM on December 11, 2008

Tricky, but I say stick with white and I second the idea of Gewurztraminer, which if you get a decent one ought to have the peppery heft to deal with this. You ask for a varietal, but get proper Alsatian if at all possible.
posted by Phanx at 3:33 PM on December 11, 2008

A fragrant white with a fair amount of acid is where I'd go (that's usually how I order at my favorite Moroccan restaurant at any rate). I concur dry Gewürztraminer or Reisling. Avod the off-dry ones; there doesn't look to be enough spicyness to balance that. A very lightly or unoaked Viognier might be killer too if you can find one. There's a big, perfumed floral/fruit nose on that grape that could marry very well.

If you go red, still think about fragrant wines and watch out for the tannins. They'll just stomp all over those warm spices and could make things taste quite flat.
posted by mostlymartha at 3:53 PM on December 11, 2008

Grüner Veltliner, a decent one.
posted by mandal at 4:12 PM on December 11, 2008

A Syrah or a Rhone blend, or a Pinot Noir. Light, though, none of these saturated 16% alcohol monstrosities that you see around from time to time.

I don't see a white standing up to the powerful flavors of green olives and preserved lemons. Preserved lemons aren't just lemony; they are earthy. If I had to pick a white like this, I'd be looking for something neutral, like a Pinot Gris or Sancerre. Something with citrus or fruit notes might make the preserved lemon taste 'off' by comparison.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:43 PM on December 11, 2008

I'd go with Syrah/Rhone/Grenache type lighter red, too.
posted by desuetude at 7:23 PM on December 11, 2008

I was going to say a Pinot, too, but then it occurred to me that nicely chilled and really good flowery Beaujolais Nouveau might be perfect, plus it's the right time of year for them.
posted by tula at 7:23 PM on December 11, 2008

Because I have not tried this particular recipe, I will comment based on the ingredients as well as my experience with Moroccan cuisine. Provided there are enough olives to make this dish salty enough, you have a wonderful combination of spice, salt (olives), sweetness (from the apricots), and acidity (lemons). This gives you a wide range of wine pairings and makes things easier than they might seem: either compliment or contrast any of those characteristics (also consider your appetizers or side dishes and things may narrow a bit). If it is not too spicy, you can literally go with your favorite Rose, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz/Syrah, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, or Cabernet Sauvignon. If it turns spicy you will obviously have to go with a lighter red: Rose, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Light Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Dolcetto, Merlot, or Shiraz/Syrah. I personally enjoy pairing food from a particular region with wines from the same region, so I would try a tempranillo or something from southern France.

Mmmmm, care to have any guests?! Enjoy!
posted by masher at 7:33 PM on December 11, 2008

To join the chorus: For a white I'd do a Gewürztraminer or Riesling, and for a red I'd do a Syrah or Rhône-style blend (this time of year I'd also tend to go for something red, myself).
posted by not me at 8:42 PM on December 11, 2008

I'm surprised no one here has mentioned the possibility of an albariño.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:59 PM on December 11, 2008

If I was at the table I'd prefer the red with this. My first thought with this spicy meal is a Syrah (or Shiraz).
posted by artdrectr at 9:15 PM on December 11, 2008

I think viognier would be wonderful. It has a nice fruit-filled intensity that I think would work well with this dish.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:51 PM on December 11, 2008

Thanks, everyone. I am still undecided, but will likely try both a Viognier (we have an Australian one in the fridge already) and a Zinfandel (although I am intrigued by the Beaujolais Nouveau idea.) I will report back the results tomorrow.

Also, for others who may be searching here, I found these links on chowhound helpful.
posted by picklebird at 5:35 AM on December 12, 2008

We ended up with the Zinfandel, only because we finished a Cote du Rhone with hos d'oeuvres and it seemed to hard to switch back to white. But the Zin was good and the dish could totally take a red wine as it was pretty rich!
posted by picklebird at 6:12 PM on January 17, 2009

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