I know this is kind of "out of season" (after all we are closer to Christmas than to summer holidays by now) but since I'm actually on a beach holiday in Morocco at the moment - why not give you some interesting facts about their wines as well? Last night we had some simply grilled fish with local wines, the "Volubilia Rosé" and "Volubilia Blanc". Morocco being a Muslim country means that the wines from here live a hidden life, tucked away in secretive shops that only non-muslims (theoretically) can enter. However, it used to be a French colony until 1955 and at that time huge quantities of simple and rustic red blending wines were made here by the French. A few of these vineyards gave survived but domestic wine production today is low with prohibitively high tax rates and low purchasing power adding to the picture. The Volubilia wine is made at the Domaine de la Zouina next to Meknès in north-eastern Morocco. The winery was created by French enologists with experience from Châteaux Fieuzal and Larrivet Haut-Brion in Bordeaux and makes a range of both reds, whites and rosés in a rather classic French style. The grape varieties planted include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tempranillo, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
The white opens up with a lovely nose of white peaches, pears and grapefruits. Almost aromatic and very refreshing, before even having tasted it! The palate is dry, crisp and medium-bodied with loads of citrussy freshness. I had this as a before dinner drink and I can tell you that It went down wonderfully, overlooking the sunset and the Atlantic Ocean. The Volubilia rosé is a rather full-bodied, medium pink wine with raspberry and strawberry flavors, actually this wine was my wedding wine! Unfortunately last night's example was slightly sour, probably the result of inappropriate storage in light-colored bottles. An interesting point is that both wines are without a stated vintage, only the Volubilia red states its vintage. To sum it up, the Volubilia range gives you a good idea of what modern viticulture in Morocco can be all about!