Keep an eye out for Moroccan Wines. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Updated: Jun 4, 2020
#Traveling to distant lands offers so many #fascinating opportunities for #discovery. One of my #favourite #discoveries is #tasting #local wines to see if they agree with my #palette. In #Morocco, and this may be something most people are not aware of, the visitor is surprisingly spoiled for choice.
Being a Muslim country, somehow wine seems like an untouchable, forbidden drink, and for many of the local population it is. However, in all the years of visiting Morocco, I have found the country and its people very #friendly, relatively #tolerant and open minded, especially so to foreign visitors. Probably the most open minded and tolerant city is #Agadir, a true #beach #resort #destination. However, Agadir does not just cater to Westerners, of which there are plenty, but also to Moroccans, other North Africans and many Middle Eastern tourists too. It is a nice and easy place to visit, with little hassle, a relatively slow pace of life with many good and some excellent restaurants. And most importantly for the purposes of this #Blog, easy access to good #Moroccan #Wine!
In Agadir, as opposed to #Marrakech and #Fez, once you find them, there are numerous private “Drink” shops and even a #Carrefour Supermarket with a well stocked and well hidden “Cave a Vin”, where you can purchase a great many local and foreign #wines, #beers and #spirits. Sometimes there's an almost #playful, electric feeling of #naughtiness in the air when stepping into one of these establishments, like #Aladdin’s #forbidden cave.
On average, in Agadir there are more cafes and restaurants where beer and wine is readily available. One of the complaints of Marrakech, is that it is difficult to find a nice simple place to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer, without having to pay a fortune for it… not so in Agadir!
This winter my #husband and I are visiting Morocco for 2 months, with 5 weeks based in an nice #Airbnb #apartment in Agadir. We don’t do much, and that’s the whole point of being here… Reeelaaax. And of course for me to taste the wine. So on with the show!
From a meeting in 2003 between Alain #Graillot of #Crozes-Hermitage, Saint Joseph and #Thalvin of Domaine des Ouled Thaleb, one of the most interesting and finest wines from Morocco emerged. Locally priced at around 220MAD **(Moroccan Dirham), approximately 22€.
Another is #VOLUBILIA CLASSIC from Domaine de la Zouina, a blend of #Cabernet-Sauvignon, #Syrah and #Tempranillo. The Domaine is located 20 minutes from the imperial city of #Meknes and 45 minutes from the ancient Roman site of #Volubilis (#UNESCO world heritage), from hence its name comes from. Locally priced at around 150MAD **(Moroccan Dirham), approximately 15€.
Both wines above are very satisfying and beautiful with a meal of Lamb, Beef or even Pasta Bolognese. However, for a nice easy drinking, very reasonably priced wine, my go to is DOMAINE RIMAL GRANDE RESERVE from Les Celliers de Meknès. This wine is locally priced at around 50 - 70MAD **(Moroccan Dirham), approximately 5€ - 7€. It’s an assemblage of Cabernet-Sauvignon, Syrah and #Alicante Bouscher.
Les Celliers de Meknes was founded in 1963 by #Brahim #Zniber, an influential figure in the revival of Morocco's wine industry and today is one of the biggest players in the world of Moroccan wine. Les Celliers de Meknes has 2000 hectares of #vineyards divided into four of Morocco's most #prestigious designations: 2 AOGs #Guerrouane & Beni M’tir and 1 AOC Les Coteaux de L'Atlas, all with modern winemaking facilities. The Zniber family who still run the business have been vine growers for more than half a century and are pioneers of modern wines in Morocco. Happily, they are also converting more and more of their wine production to Organic farming.
Domaine Rimal Grande Réserve, has a Medium + body, with a red-purple colour and aromas of vanilla and dark fruits, with notes of caramel, coffee, nuts, and plums with strong tannins. So far, it’s one the best Moroccan Reds I’ve enjoyed for the price.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your palate, the only one of these wines you might find outside of Morocco will be TANDEM, partially due to the #French Connection and all it’s associated #prestige and distribution powers. But times are a changing and the more Quality Wine Morocco produces, the #higher up in the world wine ranking it can attain.
Keep an eye out for Moroccan Wines. You might be #pleasantly surprised. I continue to be.
** As expected, prices are significantly higher in restaurants.