Rockin’ Moroccan

Dirty and delicious... to some

Posted by Daniela DaSuta on December 31, 2015

“Mmm... wet earth, spice. Cow feces.”

Some people vibe with earthy wines, preferring the prevailing wet or dry dirt/rock, dung, and mushroom notes rather than the fresh fruit notes. Some people prefer to be bathed in strawberry jam and fed a juicy plum rather than being accosted by a dirty manure stew. Fair enough. I’m in the latter category, though; I like dirty, dirty wines (I get it from my mama).

Medaillon by Ouled Thaleb

Medaillon by Ouled Thaleb smells like a barn full of cows. Close your eyes: It is drizzling and the animals have muddy hooves. The sweet smells of the lowing herd and wet, wooden beams fill the air while you stand there, inhaling deeply.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I sincerely apologize for not touching you on a personal level. PS: Go smell a cow. If, however, you have grown up with animals, this may be comforting, even nostalgic.

Anyway, the wine. Yes, it’s from Morocco, a region that is emerging as another star in Africa due to its maritime influence and high elevation. This particular wine is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 10% Syrah and was one of my favorites out of the flight that I sampled, all from the same producer (I actually left my cozy apartment and ventured downtown Austin during rush hour traffic just at the promise of tasting Moroccan wines...my priorities are not exactly aligned with the common public’s).

Medaillon by Ouled Thaleb

The rep who was pouring samples chuckled when I mentioned the dirtiness. “Yeah, the wines from this producer used to be a lot worse. We’d only serve them as a joke if someone asked for something really earthy.” They’ve come a long way since then, he explained to me.

Well, I’m glad. This wine still has some fresh black fruit, bell pepper, spices, and a lovely structure to balance out the earth; I’m being dramatic and hoping to completely put you off (maybe so that I don’t have to share). This wine in particular actually just made the cut for Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines of 2015 (scoring a 93), with “aromas of...espresso bean and white chocolate.” No mention of an Old World stinkiness, which I find charming but misleading.

A Terza Rima to Ouled Thaleb’s Medaillon:

The nose of this wine resembles barnyard
Not that it bothers me
But others may be scarred

Pour up the weirdness; I embrace all that is strange
While others sip Chard or Cab
And stare as if I’m deranged

Be Uncommon.
Drink Uncommon.

—Daniela