Domaine Alain Graillot
On a cycling holiday in Morocco, he discovered vineyards along the Atlantic Coast, in the Atlas Mountains, in the Zenata region. In spite of only 20 hectares of vineyards, it has relatively cool climate due to the ocean breezes and an altitude of 500m. The vines are between 10 – 40 years old. The vines are farmed organically with no usage of herbicide or fungicide treatment to the vineyard and all works are done by hand, which reduces damage to the grapes, resulting in an elegant and intensely concentrated Syrah. Alain crafted this red wine as a fruit-forward Moroccan red, yet it is made in an old-world style with moderate extraction, excellent balance and complex aromatics.
Domaine Ouled Thaleb (est. 1923) has been reborn as a modern Moroccan winery over the past two decades. The Moroccan wine industry has evolved and modernized, and much of this with the assistance of French vignerons Domaine Ouled Thaleb’s “Syrocco” is a fascinating collaboration between Alain Graillot, of Crozes Hermitage in the Northern Rhone, France, and Jacques Poulain of Domaine Ouled Thaleb. Graillot was drawn by the potential of this dry, coastal region, which is located on the Atlantic side of the country just south of the city of Rabat. Although the daytime temperature is very hot, the evenings are cool, allowing grapes to ripen and build both acidity and complexity. Moreover, the alluvial/limestone soils are similar to his native Rhone soils, where Syrah vines thrive. All vines are worked manually and the dry climate makes the region suitable for organic farming. The de-stalked grapes are subject to a short soaking, and then 60% of ageing is carried out in French oak barrels.