Restaurant menus and wine shops in Morocco present travelers with an astounding array of choice in excellent Moroccan wines. But where should the person unfamiliar with Moroccan wines begin? This article will provide a starting point and serve as a Moroccan Wine Guide by recommending some inexpensive good-value Moroccan wines.
Morocco has been a leading wine producer and its bold red and white grapes have become popular among the French, Americans and within Modern Moroccan households. When the French colonized Morocco, like the Romans centuries before them, they realized Morocco’s possibility of being a wine country. The French developed Meknès, a Moroccan Imperial City, into a wine region. Today 30,000 acres of land in Morocco contribute to wine production and Morocco sells over 40 million bottles within Morocco and abroad. Moroccan wine is in a state of revival and wine producers are taking advantage of the country’s sunny, mild temperate climate, and high altitudes.
Although most Moroccans do not drink alcohol due to religious prohibitions, Morocco provides a home to groups of ex-patriots and foreigners from France, England, America, Spain, Germany and Italy who enjoy healthy alcohol consumption. Wine production has greatly assisted in Morocco’s tourism sector and created much needed jobs. Close to 10,000 Moroccans are employed through the wine-making industry within the fourteen regions of Morocco. The fourteen wine making regions of Morocco are Agadir, Boulaouane, Casablanca, Fes, Kenitra, Marrakech, Melilla, Meknes, Ouarzazate, Rabat, Safi, Sidi Ifni, Tangier, and Tetouan.
Even though Morocco has fourteen wine-growing districts, wines from some of these regions are not widely available. Some common, easily-found appellations include Gerrouane, Beni MTtir, Benslimane, and Zenatta. (Gerrouane and Beni M’Tir alone account for over sixty percent of Moroccan wine production.)
Moroccan Guide To Inexpensive Red Wines:
For anyone wanting to sample a good standard Moroccan red; or when ordering for a group of red wine drinkers of varying tastes, it’s hard to go wrong with Cuvée du Cabernet President Rouge:
This garnet-colored red wine (left) hints of orange, lemon, and bramble fruits. A medium-bodied wine,it has good complexity, without being too heavy or too light. It is rich and robust, with a lingering finish.
For those who prefer a heavy-bodied (14%), plum-tasting wine, Bonassia Cabernet Sauvingon (right) is a better choice. Bonassia is a rich and smooth opaque deep ruby-violet, tasting of black currants with hints of vanilla and nutmeg with a floral finish. It is an exceptionally good value, and one of my personal favorites. Matured in stainless steel for three months, and subsequently aged in oak.
For wine drinkers who enjoy Merlots and Syrahs, excellent inexpensive choices exist in Moroccco:
The Halana Merlot is a deep garnet-colored wine, tasting of raspberry, floral (jasmine and violet), and a hint of spice. The Halana Syrah tastes of plum and raspberry, licorice, and cinnamon. It also tends to be heavy with tannins.
Moroccan Guide To Inexpensive Rosé Wines:
The Thalvin Boulaouane Vin Gris (left) is an especially good value and a personal favorite of mine. It is a light wine, tasting of floral and honeysuckle, raspberry and citrus, with a pleasingly long floral length.
The Halana Syrah Rosé is medium-bodied, and stands up well to meat courses. It tastes of rose petals, strawberry, melon and peach, and of robust minerals.
The “S” de Siroua Cabernet Sauvingnon Rosé (moderately priced in stores at about 120 Dirhams, or 12 Euros, and the most expensive wine listed in this article) is reminiscent of strawberry jam, and also a personal favorite of mine.
On most bottles of Moroccan wine, you will find the French words “vendage à la main,” which means “harvested by hand.” According to the growers, this not only provides jobs for many Moroccans, but gives a superior quality to the wine when compared with mechanical harvesting methods.
Moroccan Guide To Inexpensive White Wines:
If you enjoy white wine, a light and refreshing Moroccan white you can try, which seems to please most palates, is Thalvin Cuvée du President Sémaillon (no photo available). It is reminiscent of green apples, light minerals, and grapefruit.
Another fresh and clean-tasting Moroccan white is Special Coquillages, found on many hotel and restaurant menus. It tastes of green apple citrus, and minerals, with a hint of grapefruit, and having very long length.
Cap Blanc (no photo available) is another similar white also found on many hotel and restaurant menus. It is a pleasing and inexpensive wine tasting of grapefruit, honeysuckle, and minerals.
If you are interested in visiting the wine-growing regions of Morocco, why not book your next private tour with Travel Exploration?
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