Moroccan wine, for something completely different
Morocco is the home to the tagine, a shallow earthenware cooking dish with a conical lid; of chaotic towns and cities where the cries of market traders fill the air; and where the striking colours and scents of the spices challenge your senses. You may also see camels in the vineyards, pulling ploughs.
Over the last eighty years the country has had its ups and downs in the wine industry. At times, the state fixed the price of grapes, no matter what the quality. This had a detrimental effect on the wine industry, creating massive quality variations, and as soon as a region had an over production of the fruit, commerce suffered.
Foreign investment had to bolster this problem, which resulted in the bulk of the financial aid coming from France. Which is why most Moroccan wine end up in French wine shops.
Experience their Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah – their red wine varieties which make up seventy-five percent of their production.
While their Rose/VinGris varietals, which account for twenty percent of the crops, can be found in Clairette Blanche and Muscat, help mask spicy notes in the food.
Domaine de la Zouina Chardonnay, is a deep yellow with an explosion of mangoes and apricots Imagine apple pie and custard. This is not a thin wine and would mask spicier dishes. Pair with chicken and sauces.
La Ferme Rouge ‘Terre Blanche’ Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. This is an aromatic blend with lots of white flowers, apricots and white peaches. It would suit the less spicy dishes, with an acidity that carries through to balance out vegetable dishes.
There are numerous wines to try from this emerging region, but only a few labels are available in the UK — and they take some finding.
In an age of sometimes generic wines, it’s good to expand your palette and try something different. Sample one of these Moroccan wonders. You’re sure to find a gem:
2018 Thalvin Domaine des Ouled Thaleb Tandem Syrah du Maroc (£16.75), from Yapp Brothers. The mouthfeel is peppery warm baked fruits and spice. Pair with lamb, and drink till 2025.
2015 Domaine de Baccari Red (£7.99), from Novel Wines. This is a blend of cinsault, grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Pair with lamb and casseroles.
2019 Volubilia Gris La Zouina (£11.50), from Buonvino. This is a fresh and delicate wine with a long finish made with Marselan and Caladoc grapes.
2018 La Ferme Rouge ‘Terre Blanche’ Zaer. This is an elegant wine with lots of finesse and fragrance. On the nose it’s tropical fruits with good acidity. This one pairs well with grilled vegetables.
The wines of Morocco might not be bountiful in supply, but there’s just a smattering of styles to tease your pallet at a price you’ll like.