Domaine Ouled Thaleb is a 5,000 acre Moroccan property founded in 1923 as a cooperative tribal project. The winery portion is around 500 acres of vines, much of it grown for the table, and the rest of the property is used for large scale mixed farming, all organic, to both feed the Ouled Thaleb (Zenata/Berber) tribe for who it is named and to sell locally and for export. A very ambitious and wonderfully philanthropic project.The Moroccan wine industry has evolved and modernized, and much of this with the assistance of French vignerons. Domaine Ouleb Thaleb is one such estate. The estate got the attention of Northern Rhône Syrah star, Alain Graillot, who stumbled upon the winery by accident on a cycling trip through Morocco some twenty-five years ago. 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. More recently in a consultant’s role, Graillot has entrusted Stephane Marriot, now head winemaker at Ouled Thaleb with the production of Syrocco, widely considered the benchmark Moroccan wine.
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