Greetings everyone from Egypt! So our trip has finally started and we are 5 days into our stay in the land of the pharaohs. After getting over the initial shock of the dirt, rubbish, beggars and such of Cairo – we are having an amazing time. Unbeknown to me we have learnt that Egypt actually make wine and they have been for a good 6000 years. The first accounts of white wine were actually found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb. In Egypt around this time wine was only drank by the royals, pharaohs and gods. It was a symbol of status and wealth and was also known to be a necessity in the afterlife.
Through artifacts and documentation we can tell that grapes were grown all over Egypt from the Delta to the Nile. To this day they are still producing half a million gallons of wine a year, about the same amount as England. Which is a rather funny fact since three-quarters of the population would be Muslim = no alcohol.
One evening we ventured out of our inner-city hostel (Wake Up! Cairo – I thoroughly recommend it!!) in search of a local dish and some local beverages to go with it. The dish we decided on was ‘Koshary’ – we were recommended the restaurant from our hostel who promoted it as the ‘best Koshary in Cairo’. The price for a medium-sized pot (far too much for one person!) is just under 1 Euro. It is basically a mixture of pasta, rice, lentil, chick peas, onions and garlic and you can add a special tomato chilli sauce to this if your up for a waterworks challenge! It sounds a bit strange but was absolutely delicious and it was an unbeatable price!
Next up was searching out the little bottle shop down the road where we picked up a selection of beers and found out about the local wine.
The wine list was classified into two sections; Wines from ‘Karm el Nada Winery’ and ‘Others’. The manager kindly gave me a little information pack – explaining that the wines from Karm el Nada are the ones to try. The wines are made from organic grapes and the winery owns 3 vineyards located about 50km north of Cairo heading to Alexandria (a must visit for our next trip!). The varietals they focus on producing are; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Grenache, Montepulciano, Chardonnay, Vermentino, Viognier, and Muscat d’Alexandrie. A very interesting white grape called Bannati is also grown and has been classified as an ‘Egyptian born grape’.
So after digesting all this information I thought I best opt for the one wine that is completely different and that I may not get a chance to ever try again, the wine from the Bannati grape. – Beausoleil 2010.
The wine had very little aromatics (however this could do with the ladybug designed tumbler I was drinking it out from the hostel), it was light-bodied on the palate with subtle notes of melon, honey and a bit of tart grass in there. The finish was short. There wasn’t much to this wine, but then again it was drinkable. I hear this is a problem facing most wines from Egypt is that most of them are simply un-drinkable, that’s how bad they are. So I don’t feel to let down.
All in all, for 4.6 Euro how can I complain really !