Lebanon is a country located in the Levant region in the Middle East. The country itself has a long and diverse history and one of the earliest records of civilization came from the region itself. It also has a rich history in food and wine, with lots of Lebanese restaurants all around the world.
The country has a fine wine production as well with indigenous grape varieties planted alongside international grape varieties. One of the leading and most well known producers are Massaya, Ixsir, Chateau Musar, Chateau Kefraya and many more.
Traditional Lebanese Food Ingredients
Lebanese cuisine uses an abundance of ingredients including grains and vegetables with chickpeas leading the way, fresh fish and seafood since it is a coastal region. Meat is also consumed, with poultry being eaten more than red meat. Lamb and goat meat are one of the most consumed red meats, with lots of recipes being made now all around the world.
Apart from that, dishes are richly seasoned with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and parsley.
Common Wines From Lebanon
The history of winemaking in the region predates the country itself, going back to the Phoenicians. Lebanon has a range of microclimates that allow for many different styles of wine to be produced. There are many grape varieties planted, with some being local and some being international as well.
Bordeaux Blends – There are many producers that have fallen under the French influence after the fall of the Ottoman empire and this can be seen in grape varieties planted in the country. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot are planted extensively but there are also other Mediterranean varieties such as Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan.
White blends – Probably most known grape varieties from Lebanon itself are used to produce white wines and most often blends. These grape varieties are Merwah and Obeidi and famous producers like Chateau Musar are producing blends from these grapes.
Best Red Wine With Lebanese Food
Lebanese cultural heritage is quite rich and so is there cuisine, with different meat being used on a daily basis with lots of herbs. Red wines can sometimes be overpowering towards even the strongest dishes but when balanced well, they can pair well with Lebanese dishes.
Since the food is strongly flavored we would suggest going for at least a medium bodied red wine straight away. Medium to full bodied reds, with medium to high acidity, medium to high tannin level and medium to high tannins.
Sangiovese from Italy – Lamb or Chicken dishes with tomatoes, herbs and olives pair well with this wine
Bordeaux Blend from Lebanon – Beef Kafta are a good pairing with these blended wines made in the country itself
Mavrotragano from Greece– Lamb or Beef Shawarma are a good pairing with Mavrotragano
Zinfandel from the USA– Peas and beans stews pair nicely with medium bodied reds such as Zinfandel and when there is meat added it just gets better.
Best White Wine With Lebanese Food
Lebanese food has lots of different flavors with rich, seasoned dishes. Apart from famous meat dishes like kafta and shawarma, Lebanese cuisine has lots of salads and seafood dishes which naturally pair well with white wines.
White wines that you should pair with Lebanese cuisine have to match the flavor intensity of the dishes. We would recommend having medium to full bodied white wines with medium to high acidity. Flavor profile should be focused on citrus, green fruit and stone fruit, which will complement the spices.
Chardonnay from France– Hummus will pair well with a creamy, Burgundian Chardonnay
Rhone blend from France – Chicken Shawarma will pair well with a rich Rhone white blend
Merwah & Obeidi from Lebanon – Mujadara is a rice and lentil blend with caramelized onions
Malagouzia from Greece – Tabbouleh salad is a nice pairing with a floral and herbal Malagouzia
Pairing Wine With Traditional Lebanese Recipes
Tabbouleh Salad Wine Pairing
Tabbouleh Salad is made of bulgur wheat, lettuce, olive oil, garlic, with fresh mint in the mix.
It will pair lovely with a floral and herbal Malagouzia from Greece.
Mujadara Wine Pairing
Mujadara is a dish made by mixing lentils and rice with caramelized onions. A traditional Lebanese dish that pairs well with oak aged blends of two Lebanese grape varieties, Merwah and Obeidi.
Hummus Wine Pairing
Hummus is a traditional Middle Eastern dish and it is considered to be a staple in Lebanese cuisine as well. The rich, creamy texture pairs well with a rich, creamy Chardonnay from Burgundy.
Chicken Shawarma Wine Pairing
Shawarma can be made from chicken, beef or lamb. Chicken Shawarma usually has a bit of a creamy sauce with lots of herbs and onions. This makes a great pairing with a creamy, spicy white blend from the Rhone valley. Marsanne and Roussanne make complex blends which pair well with Lebanese food.
Beef Kafta Wine Pairing
Lebanon has a rich history with French grape varieties, especially Bordeaux ones. A classic Bordeaux blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc will pair well with a classic Beef Kafta dish.
Lamb or Beef Shawarma Wine Pairing
Mavrotragano is a greek grape variety grown on the island of Santorini and can range from medium to full body. It’s a more dark fruit oriented wine which will pair well with Lamb or Beef Shawarma.
Pairing Wine With Lebanese Desserts
Sweet wines like late harvest Gewurztraminer or Sauternes pair well with sweet desserts like Baklava. You can try Tokaji Aszu from Hungary or Vinsanto from Greece.