The wines of Jardin du Nil, Egypt

I open this article on the wines of Jardin du Nil with an apology. Three years ago I reviewed a range of wines from Sahara Vineyards in Egypt. Having seen the review, in 2010 Jardin du Nil were kind enough to send me samples of their Egyptian wines. The samples were not tasted immediately and somehow slipped to the back of my tasting cellar. On rediscovering these three wines in summer 2012 I decided to open and taste them, even though I feared the white wine in particular would not be at its freshest. My tasting notes on these wines follow, after two years of imperfect storage. Jardin du Nil wine

Jardin du Nil is the premium, organically-farmed range of wine company Kouroum of the Nile. The company points out that winemaking in Egypt has 5000 years of recorded history, and that the wines of Egypt once enjoyed recognition throughout the world. Some claim that Egyptian winemakers developed the winemaking techniques that were transferred through Greece and Rome and onto the world. But the reputation of Egypt for winemaking in the modern world is almost non-existent outside the country’s borders. Kouroum of the Nile say they are striving to “revive the Egyptian vineyard and place Egypt on the wine map once more.”

The main vineyards are located 50km north of Cairo, on the Desert road to Alexandria, with a total planted area of 400 acres, planned to reach 500 acres by the end of this year. There are other vineyards in the Sinai peninsula near the border with Israel and Jordan, and 120 acres more in Minya in Upper Egypt. Clearly heat and lack of water are two of the main challenges to winegrowers in Egypt, and various experimental plantings have seen Kouroum focus on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot for red wines, Chardonnay, Vermentino, Viognier and Muscat d’Alexandrie for white wines and Grenache, Montepulciano and Merlot for rosé. One local white grape called Bannati was found in Minya and is said to be yielding excellent results.

Irrigation wells up to 100 metres deep feed drip lines along every row. It is interesting that I should rediscover these samples just at a time when less familar wine places seem to be having the spotlight thrown on them: Marks & Spencer have recently launched a new range including wines from Israel, Lebanon and Turkey amongst others, The Wine Society has been promoting wines from Morocco, Slovenia and Romania, and Waitrose has just listed wines from China and Brazil. Whilst there might be relatively few of these wines that are ground-breaking in any way, the chance to taste something new, from somewhere new, is always interesting. I’d happily enjoy a glass or two of these Egyptian wines in the future.

The wines

The wines are not currently in the UK.

Jardin du Nil, Grand Vin d’Egypt White 2008, Egypt
A blend of Chardonnay and Vermentino, this showed a touch of oxidation which I am certain is entirely down to my mistreatment of the wine. But beyond that there is good varietal character here, with the lemony quality of the Vermentino and crisp apple of the Chardonnay fruit. On the palate is quite soft and low in acidity, with a pleasingly mellow touch of honey to the orchard fruits. It could perhaps be a little more concentrated, a little sharper, but given that it is from 2008 it still delivers a very enjoyable mouthful of wine. It would be unfair to score this sample, but it is clearly a wine of good quality.

Jardin du Nil, Grand Vin d’Egypt Red 2007, Egypt
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah, this has a very appealing and attractive nose, with plenty of meaty ripeness moving into bloody and stewed Italian tomato, but with solid red berries too. On the palate again the acid is low, but this has very good overall balance, the fruit quite savoury, fleshy and ripe, the soft tannin structure and enough acid to give it a bit of a chewy edge, and decent length. 86-87/100.


  1. Egypt has two major corporate wine makers. “Gianaclis” a Heineken brand, being the first has been bought out by the previously state run Ahram Beverages; its ranges include:

    Chateau de Granville White being the top wine and rightly so using French grapes. No headaches smooth on the tongue and a pleasant trip.
    Type: Light bodied white wine
    Description: Pale lemon color with light aromas developing nice citrus notes.
    Dry lemony flavors with good breadth and gratifying acidity.
    Blend: Sémillon Grape
    Origin: France
    Price: 400EGP

    The Cape Bay White bottle using South African Chardonnay grapes is a well versed drink that is smooth at first with some gentle massages on the tongue thereafter.
    It has primary fruit characteristics leaning towards crisp apples, pears, and lemon. The mouth has a nice length and refreshing acidity with citrusy notes and pear coming through.
    Grapevine: Chardonnay
    Grape Origin: South Africa
    Price: 350EGP

    Castello Di Trevi White
    By far a beautiful concoction using Italian grapes this is by far a must try and quiet pleasing on the taste buds. It hits the back of the throat with empowering yet smooth light notes of minerals and citrus.
    It provides a fruity nose with white peach and pear, lemon zest. The palate is fresh, with a hint of minerality.
    Price: 300EGP

    Grand Marquis White
    This is the staple wine to first try to explore all Egyptian wines. People in Egypt say you try Omar Khayam which is unfortunately a wine that should not be made to sell but used as a toilet fresher instead. It’s sold because it’s the cheapest and less dedicated processing wine for the masses who cannot afford the above ranges and because it was the first wines made during the ottoman occupation period. Grand marquis breaks this barrier and image of fine Egyptian wines and what wines were like. Simple and elegant especially the vanilla hitting outside the palate tongue. It’s a very smooth drink that doesn’t cause headaches and is extremely refreshing during the hot periods in Egypt. It compliments the weather and the body during the summer months. This is probably the most affordable out of most wines in Egypt and probably the best in this price range.
    It’s pale yellow color with a reserved nose showing a hint of spice. Buttery palate with vanilla undertones showing good weight and length.
    Blend: Sultanine Blanche / Chardonnay Grape Origin: Egypt
    Ageing: 3 months in oak
    Price 250EGP

    Note a day tour of Gianaclis farm can be arranged through their Facebook with transportation, lunch and a couple cups of wine included in the price.

    The second corporate maker is EgyBev and Kouroum of the Nile is under its wing of vast other branded wines.

    Jardin du Nile has improved dramatically over the years and I personally believe this is the best Egyptian white wine produced locally. It’s what a wine should be complementing the environment and the social gatherings. Its taste is the smoothest of most wines here and it enhances the mood whether it of the chaotic city or the nature of tranquility.
    Grapes: Vermentino and Viognier.
    Tasting Note: Fresh and crisp with a very long finish. A blend of lime and pineapple. Slightly mineral with floral aromas.
    Price: 320EGP

    I would always suggest new comers to Egypt to first try Jardin du Nile and Grand Marquis and compare the two. You will find big differences and Jardin du Nile far superior. Considering the small price difference it’s the go to staple white wine that should be present in all wine lovers homes.

    1. Thank you for this comprehensive update. As you can see, my article is 12 years old and unfortunately I have not tasted any Egyptian wines since then, but it is good to know Jardin du Nil is still one of the best local wineries.

  2. I am planning a trip to Egypt and want to center around wine. I can hardy find any info on the wine regions. If anyone has any info on where to go I would be very grateful!

    1. Thanks for getting in touch. This article is pretty old as you can see – published 2012 – and unfortunately I don’t have much updated information on the wine scene in Egypt. There’s some info from other wine-pages visitors below, but sorry I cannot help.

  3. I’m sitting in the Marriott hotel in Cairo (near the pyramids of Gizeh) and here the Jardin du Nil is widely available. It is a great wine (trying the 2018 Viognier which was a surprise to me. A real treat! Now the problem is where to buy the wine to take home.

    1. Good to know you are enjoying the wines Erik. I am not sure whether there is international distribution, so you’d better find a local supplier to fill up your suit-case 🙂

    2. You can order it online here:
      Unfortunately, the main stores franchise (drinkies) don’t have it.

    1. Hi, unfortunately I have no knowledge of Egyptian suppliers, or whether this wine is still being made: my review is over six years old and I see the link I had to the winey is no longer working, so my apologies but I cannot answer your question.

      1. The wine I believe is made in El Gouna on the red sea. It is widely available there. You could also try cheers alcohol supplier as I think they are linked.

  4. Well just had a 2012 red and was expecting something akin so sour vinegar but stunned simply stunned by the taste. Fir the price paid I would say it still.matches your rating possibly a little higher. More than pleasently surprised. The only shame was that it was the hotels last bottle

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