Posts Tagged ‘Morocco Wine Tours’

Moroccan Wine & Vineyards, Wine & Food Tasting Morocco Tour

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Chateau Roslane wines

Wine production in Morocco is believed to have been introduced by Phoenician settlers, and was definitely established in the era of Ancient Rome. Large-scale wine production with extensive vineyards was introduced into Morocco by the French during the protectorate as it was in Algeria and Tunisia. Today’s regions in Morocco that have become famous for wine are Meknes, Casablanca and Essaouira.

 At Morocco’s independence in 1956, there were 55,000 hectares (140,000 acres) of vineyards. Although much of the French wine expertise left when Morocco became independent, the wine trade continued to be significant into the 1960s Moroccan winwas used for blending with French wines until the European Community introduced  import quotas in 1967 which led to significant reductions in previous  wine exports. From 1973-1984, the vast majority of the vineyards were also taken over by the Moroccan state and wine production declined. In the 1990’s KingHassan II sought to revive investment from French wine growers principally from Bordeaux.

In the 1990s, during the rule of Hassan II, the Moroccan wine production started to improve due to foreign (primarily French) investment and know-how. This was achieved by offering foreign wine companies the possibility for long-term lease of vineyards from the state agricultural company SODEA. Several large Bordeaux-based wine companies, including Groupe Castel, William Pitters and Taillan, entered into such partnerships, which have been quite successful in reviving the Moroccan wine industry.

The traditional red grapes planted in Morocco are Carignan (which once dominated), Cinsaut (almost 40 per cent in 2005), Alicante, and Grenache. Plantations of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah have increased rapidly, and together make up around 15 per cent. Traditional white grape varieties include Clairette and Muscat. There has also been smaller experimentations with Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.

 Morocco sets itself apart from other countries in North Africa because of its potential for producing high quality wines due to its location. Benefiting from the cooling breeze from the Atlantic Ocean and nested at the bottom of the Atlas Mountains, Moroccan vineyards have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years.

When Morocco became a protectorate of France in 1912, the French found its fertile soil, especially in the Meknes region of the Middle Atlas Mountains, an ideal spot in which to build a formidable wine industry. Morocco is now producing high quality wines for export. The majority of wine exports go to France and other European destionations but the wine importing company Exotic Imports is beginning to make inroads into the American market, particularly Colorado.

Thalvin’s vineyards are located in Zenata, the coastal region of Morocco. Enhanced by the warm rays of the Moroccan sun, the constitution of its soil, the use of sustainable farming methods and the handpicking of the grapes. The resulting traditional winemaking approach has led to the creation of the best of Moroccan wines, and provide a diverse range of wines, each created with a stylistic approach, unique blends and settled notes. Retaining indigenous varietals such as Faranah, and introducing others such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

One of the best regions for making wine in Morocco is the Ouled Thaleb Estate, situated 20 miles northeast of Casablanca, which clearly demonstrates a similarity with the soil of Bordeaux and particularly, the Medoc region. The soil consists of sandy shale and gravel sand, and like the Medoc region, the estate is in close proximity to the sea. Located on the Ben-Slimane plateau, it faces the Atlantic Ocean and is swept by west winds which leave their maritime influence on the region.

 Thalvin, in partnership with landowners in Rommani, a region of rolling hills situated at the base of the Atlas Mountains (at an altitude of 2000 feet), have planted vines where the black soil, its chalky clay subsoil and the emerging rock supply the very particular qualities desired for the making of quality wines. Grapes are hand picked and there is no use of herbicide or fungicide, so technically these grapes are grown organically. The wine industry in Morocco employs about 10,000 people and supplies about 40 million bottles of Moroccan wine per year.

Morocco is one of  the largest wine producers in the islamic world.The industry brings the state millions in sales and taxes Up till now the majority of wine sales have been in Morocco which is of course a muslim country and it’s no secret that many Moroccans enjoy wine as well as Morocco’s growing number of tourists. As an islamic party now leads the government and a stricter interpretation of islam is gaining ground the future for Moroccan wines may well be more directd towards export and the tourism industry inthe future.

 Chateau Roslane, Vineyards

The Celliers de Meknes owned by Mr Brahim Zniber now cultivates 2,100 hectares (5,189 acres) of vineyards, bottling anything from entry-level table wine to homemade champagne and even a high-end claret, Chateau Roslane, aged in a vaulted cellar packed with oak barrels imported from France. The winery now dwarfs virtually any other producer in Europe.Cradle of the Designation of Geographic Origin (AOG) the areas of Guerrouane, Beni M’tir  and of the Designation of Controlled Origin (AOC) area of “Les Coteaux De l’Atlas”, this region concentrates today more than 60% of the Moroccan wine production.  Les Celliers De Meknes is  in the heart of these vineyards.Les Celliers de Meknes has created the first Moroccan Chateau officially inaugurated in June 2004.

Wine aged in oak casks

Wine tasting visits  can be arranged to the vineyards of  Chateau Roslane with Les Celliers Meknes.Chateau Roslan is in the only AOC region (AOC coteauxd’Atlas) in Morocco and creates wines of varying quality and price. The Chateau is immaculate, and has beautifully manicured gardens with traditional fountains. Chateau Roslan produces the premier “Cru” White and Red and other premium wines.

Volubilia is a small vineyard of 63 hectares, and wine tasting visits can also be arranged. It produces wines which are highly scored and probably the best in the area.

For More Information Wine Tour in Morocco and the Meknes Winery 

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate
Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Moroccan Wine Guide, Choosing The Best Moroccan Wine, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Moroccan Grape Preparation For Wine Making Process

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, Moroccoprovides 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.

Map of the Fourteen Wine-Growing Regions of Morocco

Even though Morocco has fourteen wine-growing districts, wines from some of these regions are not widely available. Some common, easily-found appellations includeGerrouaneBeni MTtirBenslimane, and Zenatta. (Gerrouane and Beni M’Tir alone account for over sixty percent of Moroccan wine production.)

The Beni M’Tir Wine-Growing Region of Morocco

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.

Vineyards in Meknes

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.

Grapes Being Harvested “by Hand” in Meknes

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?

For more information about Moroccan Wine, visiting the region of Meknes or a Morocco Wine Tour

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration

Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806  or 1 (917)703-2078  and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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