A strong Moroccan red wine has always been associated with traditional meaty tangines and other hearty fare . Now however new wines of superior quality produced by new French wine growers who have brought their expertise to reinvigorate the Moroccan wine market with new « cepages ameilatours » varieties of reds,roses,gris and whites.
Co director Jacques Poulain moved to La Ferme Rouge in 2009 after working with the legendary Brahim Zniber owner of Celleries de Meknes and Thalvin at Domaine des Ouled Thaleb.Jacques Poulain has worked to produce superior individualistic Moroccan wines . La Ferme Rouge lies in the high up in the Zaers region not far from the capital Rabat close to the Atlantic which provides cooling breezes for its vineyard. La Terre Rouge from La Ferme has won acclaim along with its Rose and Gris and the Odysée Cuve White.
Brahim Zniber’s Celliers de Meknes has 2,000 hectares of vineyards and produces 60per cent of Morocan wine ranging from the cheapest Moghrebi to Château Roslane premier cru de l’Atlas rouge and Château Roslane Le Couteaux de L’Atlas Charonnay blanc. King Hassan II who studied law in Bordeaux encouraged French wine makers to take long term leases on state vineyards to revive the post independence wine industry. He also granted Zniber now in his 90’s extensive state vineyards. Zniber worked to raise the quality of Moroccan wines insisting on the establishment of AOG (Designation of geographic origin like Gerrouane and Beni M’Tir) and Morocco’s only AOC controlled origin « Les Coteaux de l’Atlas ». Brahim Zniber’s crowning glory after a lifetime’s service to Moroccan wine was the classification of Château Roslane as the only official wine château in Morocco.
Christophe Greblin at the Domaine Zouina in the Meknes Tafilalet region produces Volubilia rouge ,rose and Volubilia gris. The gris is made by leaving the skins of red grapes to blend with the white wine juice. The longer the red grape skins remain in the mix the darker the rosé hue.
Charles Mélia runs the Domaine de Val d’Argan http://www.valdargan.com/ near Essaouira. it is the only vineyard this far south on the Atlantic coast. He also has a Riad and a restaurant which makes a pleasant stop and a chance to visit the vineyard.
For daily consumption Touareg is a reasonably priced rich full flavoured red which does not disappoint from the Gerrouane Appelation d’Origin Guarantee( AOG). There is also a rose and white.
For the sunny days that are still with us in February Gris de Gerrouane is invariably pleasant ad Gerrouane Rosé is slightly stronger.
Moroccan wines can be easily bought in Carrefour supermarkets, even in Ramadan, provided you produce your passport. The Moroccan government under the impulse of the majority Islamist PJD party put up the tax on wine which has meant a decrease of consumption and quite a high mark up in restaurants.