I am opening 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 some 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 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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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 🙂
You can order it online here: cheersegypt.com
Unfortunately, the main stores franchise (drinkies) don’t have it.
I am looking for it all over Cairo and cannot seem to find it.
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.
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.
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
Thanks for the feedback Stuart, and glad it was drinking well.