If you're eating Lebanese food, it makes sense to drink Lebanese wine. And you can do that at Open Sesame in Los Angeles.
Winemaking goes back thousands of years in Lebanon and has survived despite the hostilities that have troubled the area. Drinking these wines supports an industry that has had to face severe challenges.
To show them off, Open Sesame's owner Ali Kobeissi paired them with several of the restaurant's specialties.
This made it possible to see how an Altitudes Ixsir white blend of Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon was soft and gentle compared to a more acidic Chateau Musar Jeune composed of Viognier, Chardonnay and Vermentino.
The Chateau Musar is unoaked, meant for early consumption, and good with lively dishes such as shrimp in a red and green bell pepper sauce with tomato, garlic, cilantro and a bit of hot chile (above).
The Ixsir Grande Reserve red 2010 (at the top) blends 69% Syrah and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon from five terroirs. This is your wine for heartily seasoned beef shawarma on a bed of parsley and onion with a roasted tomato at the side (above).
Then came another big red, the Chateau Musar 2003 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane and Cinsault from old vines growing in the Bekaa Valley. Each grape was vinified separately and aged for two years, then blended and aged in cask one year, followed by four years in the bottle before release.
To finish, there was a choice of Turkish coffee or blossom tea--mint leaves floating in a cup of hot water scented with orange flower water, the perfect restorative after a rich assortment of food and wine.
Open Sesame, 7458 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036. Tel: (323) 525-1698.