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About this Episode

Wine educator and certified sommelier, Grace Hood, joins Robert Tas for an exploration of the exotic location, Bavel. This restaurant serves traditional Middle Eastern dishes inspired by the traditional cuisine of Morocco, Turkey, and Egypt. Grace explains how to pair wine with Middle Eastern cuisine and identifies which wines pair with strong herbs such as parsley, cilantro, and cumin. She also points out a great value wine from Portugal, and a 52-year-old white that should not be missed.

Wines reviewed include:

●  2018 Pouilly fume from Didier Dageaneau

●  2020 Beaujolais Gamay Noir, Paul-Henri Thillardon

●  2008 Barolo from Cavalier Lorenzo Accomasso



Transcript: Bavel

RT: Hello and Welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where we will review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Grace Hood, wine educator and certified sommelier. Hello Grace, it’s great to have you!

GH: Hi Robert! Happy to be back. 

RT Before we jump in, let’s talk about those wine lists. We created CorkRules to help demystify wine lists because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.

RT: Today we will be reviewing the Los Angeles Middle Eastern hot spot, Bavel. Grace what are your initial thoughts on Bavel?

GH: Well I don’t know about you Robert, but I love Middle Eastern food. The flavors the spices the aromas. No matter where in the world you’re enjoying it, you feel like you’re dining in some far off place, sitting on a floor poof about to dive into a layered rich textured decadent dish.

RT: Totally. I love all those flavor combinations. Now what did you think of their wine selections?

GH: So they have a pretty approachable list. Just two pages with an expansive selection of both new and old world wines. On the first page it’s broken down by style – aperitif, which has a selection of sparkling, - lighter, which they have some aromatic whites and lighter style reds – and then heavier which is going to be your full-bodied whites and big tannic reds. On the second page is their reserve section which is going to be your higher end bottles. There’s definitely a variety of styles and price points so there’s something for everyone here for sure.

RT: Love it. Lots of options means happy wine drinkers. So should we start with some sparkling?

GH: I don’t see why not! Haha! If you wanted a traditional easy drinking non-vintage champagne, you could go with the Liebert Fils, or if you’re looking for an interesting older vintage, you could do the 2008 Clos Cazals. They also have a sparkling Spanish on the menu, the 2020 Anima Mundi.

RT: Yum, those all sound pretty tasty. Now, what about some whites. I can see some mineral driven whites really pairing with some of these Middle Eastern dishes. 

MV: You’re totally right. Middle Eastern food uses a lot of herbs, which are a perfect complement to white wines. For instance, parsley and cilantro  are very common herbs used in Middle Eastern cooking. You’ll want to pair with an herbaceaous, dry white like this 2016 Gruner Veltliner Peter Malberg from Austria, or this 2018 Pouilly Fume from Didier Dageaneau out of the Loire valley of France.

RT: Yum sounds super refreshing. Now when I think Middle Eastern, I definitely think cumin. What kind of wines would pair with that savory spice?

GH: Cumin is one of my favorite spices. It’s used in a few different types of international cuisine, but you definitely see a lot of it in Middle Eastern cooking. For cumin, you’re definitely going to want to pay attention to the main element of the dish, like the protein or dairy, to see what kind of wine to pair. If we’re going to with a meat dish that uses cumin, then a savory light to medium-bodied red will pair really well, like this 2011 Syrah from Pierre Gonon from the Saint Joseph region in the Northern Rhone. Or you could go with another 2011 – this Volnay from Michel Lafarge would be a beautiful pairing for cumin. 

RT: Delicious. I’m already hungry. What about some of those vegetarian dishes in Middle Eastern cuisine? Like falafel or taboulleh?

GH: Great question Robert. Falafel and tabouleh both have those lemony garlic and onion elements to them, and they’ll pair really well with citrusy rounder whites, like this 2020 Herri Mina Petit Courbu white blend from the southwest region of France, or the 2017 Pouilly Fuissé from Denis Jeandeau.

RT: Those sound like great choices. Now you know we always want to highlight some value bottles as well as some special occasion selections. What would you recommend on the Bavel list. 

GH: You got it. For a value white, I would go with this 2015 Portuguese white blend from Herdade do Mouchao. And then for a special occasion white, I would be really interested to see how this 1970 White Bordeaux from Chateau Haut-Brion would be drinking

RT: Oh wow a 52-year-old white? That would be a really unique white experience. Now, what about a value red and special occasion red?

GH: My value red pick will have to be the 2020 Beaujolais Gamay Noir from Paul Henri Thillardon, and then my pick for special occasion red would be the 2008 Barolo from Cavalier Lorenzo Accomasso.

RT: Awesome Grace. Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate the Bavel wine list.

To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.  If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@CorkRules.com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.


We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists. Follow us on social media @CorkRules and @wineswithgrace


And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.


Thank you.







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