Wines of Morocco

I’ve just got back from a week in the very South of Morocco and was surprised to see a number of local wines readily available. Subsequent research in the Oxford Companion to Wine shows that of all the North African countries, Morocco probably has the greatest potential for producing good quality wine. Having tasted a few bottles, I am sure it has the potential - I’m just not sure it is there yet.ksar.jpg

Much of what I tried, and to be fair to the Moroccan producers, was the equivalent of vin de table stuff. They do have an appellation controlee type classification and although I bought a bottle of one from the Ben M’Tir region, my stomach wasn’t up to it, having eaten something that didn’t agree with me. Much of the cheaper stuff had a sweetish almost bubble gum aroma and taste to it. 75% of the wines are red but there is also a fair amount of rose and also gris, a style you don’t often see. The classification system is similar to the French AC and is called Appellation d’Origine Garantie and it delimits the geographical area of production and sets maximum yields but does not dictate grape varieties. There are 14 zones in total.

There has been quite a lot of foreign investment including Castel, who are the ultimate owners here in the UK of Oddbins and Nicolas. It’s not surprising to have a heavy investment and influence from the French given the colonial ties between France and Morocco. I noticed that most of the labels I saw mentioned Les Celliers de Meknes, who are a large North African wine organisation who seem to have the lions share of the market. I did a quick search to see if it was possible to buy the wine back here in the UK and was surprised at the number of stockists there are. It would be interesting to see what the profile was of the people who buy it.

So in summary, a region with some potential and one maybe to keep on eye on in the years ahead.

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