Wine from Morocco: Ouled Thaleb Moroccan Red Blend
The Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache
Both of these International Grapes are widely planted in different regions across the globe. Cabernet Sauvignon is fairly easy to grow, and produces fuller-bodied wines with good structure. Grenache grows well in warm, dry, and windy climates - like Morocco’s northwest coast, where it produces a spicy and fruity wine with soft structure.
The Wine: Domaine Ouled Thaleb, Moroccan Red Blend, Morocco
Ouled Thaleb is the oldest operating winery in Morocco; its first vines were planted in 1927. The vineyards are located on Morocco’s North Atlantic Coast, northeast of Casablanca, in the Zenata AOG of the Chaouia-Ouardigha wine region. There, the grape-growing climate is shaped by the Atlas Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The vineyards are farmed organically, without the use of fungicides or pesticides, and weeding and harvesting are performed manually.
The wine is made of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Grenache, and is aged 10 months in oak. The result is a smooth, soft wine with juicy fruits. There are notes of black cherry and strawberry, cedar and sandalwood, and hints of vanilla.
Fun Fact: The image on the label is a stylized Hamsa, or “Hand of Fatma” - a talisman for luck and to help ward off the “evil eye”, which is malevolence introduced by envy. The origins of such talisman are ancient; images and idols of “eyes” which precede the “hand” - date back many millennia. The ”Hand of Fatma” dates back at least to the 7th century BC and the Prophet Mohammed, after whose daughter the item is named. Wine making likely spread to Morocco via the Phoenicians, whose first colony there, at Lixus, also dates to the 7th century BC. Lixus was followed by Sala (near Rabat) and Essaouaria (Mogador), all 3 of which remained important during the Carthaginian empire. Eye amulets were common at Carthage, and were found throughout its necropolis.
Available now for $9/glass. Try it with the Spanish Meatballs