Why foodies should check out the Elite Sommeliers DXB wine paired dinners
Discover top wines while enjoying a multi-course menu at some of the city’s most show-stopping spots…
As Dubai’s culinary scene continues to evolve, as does the beverage programme at restaurants across the city. A collection of expert sommeliers are at the forefront of the education and development of the city’s knowledge of wine, cocktails and spirits, and they’ve come together to create the group Elite Sommeliers DXB. All working at the forefront of the industry in top restaurants in Dubai, this season they’re hosting a collection of exclusive wine-paired dinners, each showcasing a different winemaker.
The Elite Sommerlier DXB dinners are taking place between now and December, in venues such as Al Muntaha in the Burj Al Arab, LPM, and Alici. So if you’re looking to up your wine knowledge, while meeting similarly passionate foodies and enjoying a multi-course menu at a top Dubai venue, then read on to see what it’s like…
Our own experience in the opening week of the Elite Sommelier DXB series took place at L’Olivo by Al Mahara, the beautiful underwater restaurant at the iconic Burj Al Arab. Leading the way, Burj Al Arab beverage director was tasked with showcasing pioneering leaders in the Italian sparkling wine scene, Cantine Ferrari.
Ahead of the dinner, guests are greeted in the jewel-hued, softly lit lounge to meet and mingle, while sipping their first sparkling Ferrari Brut. It’s a nice way for the group to get to know each other before sitting down to a more formal dining experience, with dainty canapes past round by the smartly dressed L’Olivo team.
After an hour as stomachs begin to rumble, we’re lead through the restaurant – where guests sit enjoying romantic date nights by the shimmering blue aquarium – to the private dining room. I don’t know what is more show-stopping: the view of the marine life gliding by, or the ruby red coral structure that hangs from the ceiling. Either way, it’s arguably the most impressive dining room I’ve ever seen.
We swiftly take our seats, marked with a named menu that adds a lovely personal touch, and the six-course menu begins. L’Olivo originated in Capri at the now Jumeirah-operated Capri Palace, where it has two Michelin Stars. The culinary director, Andrea Migliaccio, came over with the restaurant when it was originally meant to be a pop-up at Al Mahara, but it’s proved so popular that it’s become a permanent addition to the ‘7 Star’ hotel’s culinary scene.
The tasting menu successfully managed to bottle up the fresh, charming allure of Mediterranean dining, but then gives it a golden Dubai touch appropriate for the setting. Courses such as a grilled octopus with eggplant and green peppers is paired nicely with a Ferrari Perle, and a tomato risotto with amberjack, basil pesto and mozzarella goes down a treat with a crisp glass of Riserva Lunelli. We go off tasting menu for one course, when chef Andrea’s team serve up a perfect plate of lemon tagliolini topped with red prawns and delicate oyster leaf. It’s paired with a very special bottle of Riserva Bruno Lunelli from 2006, one of only two years (the other being 1994) that particular bottle was produced by Ferrari.
The dinner is informative but still friendly and fun, and Sam shares anecdotes of his own experiences with the wines that are interesting and accessible, while answering a string of questions that pop up as the dinner goes on. If you’ve ever wanted to learn from your own personal sommelier session, this feels as close as it could be. It’s the kind of event where you leaving having learned so much more than you thought you might.
This month, on October 24 Lorenzo Abussi will take guests on a sensational journey across the Rocca delle Macìe winery at City Social (Dhs1,300). Then the series will continue into November when sommelier Samuel Lacroix pairs Al Muntaha’s fine French fare with Champagne Louis Roederer on November 8 (Dhs1,100), Orange Hospitality’s beverage director Eleonora Caso leads a Dassai sake-paired dinner at Mayabay on November 14 (Dhs1,100), and follows it up with a dinner at Alici on November 21 showcasing top wines from the acclaimed organic winery, Valle Reale.
In December, the final event will see sommelier Gregg Lambert host a dinner at LPM Restaurant & Bar on December 7, showcasing unique grower Champagnes from producer Legras and Haas (Dhs1,000).