I a Gris
Updated: Jun 4
Among the countries of North #Africa, Morocco is thought to have the best natural potential for producing #quality wines, due to its high mountains and the cooling influence from the Atlantic Ocean. Without these natural climatic #influences, Morocco would be too hot and dry to produce quality wine.
An important exporter of wine during its colonial era before 1956, the Moroccan wine industry is now experiencing a grand #revival and expansion particularly since the 1990s due to the influx of foreign #investment, mainly from #France.
#Viticulture in the region is believed to have been introduced by early Phoenician settlers, then followed by the Romans. One of the largest and best preserved Roman Cities in Morocco, #Volubilis, is located very near by #Meknes, one of the main wine growing areas of Morocco today. However it wasn’t until the French colonists arrived and large-scale viticulture was introduced, just as the French introduced it to Morocco’s neighbour, Algeria during colonial times.
It amazes me how far the #local wine industry has come in the past 10 to 15 years. Two successive kings have encouraged much outside investment in #vineyards and #wineries, and that encouragement is paying off in dividends. Many wine lists now give pride of place to their local wines, which come from vineyards near the moderating breezes of the Atlantic or the cool foothills of the Atlas Mountains. And these wines can be rather #expensive to order in Morocco’s #finer restaurants and bars.
Still, Red wine dominates greatly, with over 75 percent of production. Rosé wines and Vin Gris account for almost 20 per cent, and white wine only around 3 per cent. For me the white wine in Morocco is very very hit and miss. And I usually give it a miss.
However, because of this, I first began my exploration into Gris Wine, here in Morocco. In general I did not like the whites and sometimes the Roses were just a little too, well, Rose, not dry or refreshing enough. The Reds were/are often fantastic in the evening cooler months, or with a delicious succulent Lamb #Tajine. But I was looking for something to refresh my #palette with #subtlety and #delicateness. I found this in the plethora of Gris Wines easily available here. To be honest, I have hardly ever seen so many Gris Wines as are available in Morocco. And there is a reason for it. Most of them are #wonderful.
So what is a Gris Wine? Translated literally, the term “vin gris” has little romance or appeal, it means “grey wine.” However, Vin gris is simply a term for a very light (and we’re talking super pale pink) rosé wine made from red grapes. The only real difference between the #vin #gris method and the traditional rosé method, is that there is almost zero #maceration time whatsoever.
Maceration time means the time #grape juice stays in contact with grape skins. The darker pink in a Rose wine transpires when the skins are left in contact with the juice for a longer period of time. In a vin gris, the #grapes are pressed but the juice is not left for any significant contact time with the grape skins, resulting in the extraction of a mostly #clear juice. And no surprise here, most vin gris are #fermented in stainless steel, since their hyper-delicate qualities could easily be overwhelmed by contact with oak.
So if you are one of the many people who still do not like Rose Wine, why not try a vin gris. You might just a Gris with me.