Kaddee’s Cairo Chronicles


January 14, 2009

Wine is NOT why you come to Egypt. It is why you LEAVE Egypt.

Filed under: Being There — Kaddee @ 2:44 pm

The beer in Egypt, as dear gozi has said, is merely bland and flavorless. The local beers (Stella [NO, THIS IS NO RELATION TO STELLA ARTOIS], Sakkara and Luxor) are weak, fizzy yellow beers that are best consumed super cold, in large quantities on very hot days. Sounds like Egypt.

Thank you to Stone Brewing for this logo!

The wines, however, are actively toxic. The French were, apparently, not in Egypt long enough to impart the art and alchemy of wine making. The Egyptians use French names (Chateau de Reves, Jardin du Nil), but the wine inside the bottle is, more or less, rot-gut solvent that should never be ingested by a living organism.

The Lebanese, however, learned well from the French – their wines are LOVELY. The Lebanese also have the advantage of a hilly, rocky, Mediterranean geography, which is FAR better for growing the vines and storing the wines. So for Middle Eastern wine, I highly recommend Lebanese. Ksara is one of our favorite vineyards.

Egypt has a hot, dry climate that is not suitable for growing grapes. Egypt has imported the grapes or the juices from some great wine-producing areas (Lebanon, S. Africa), and yet the end-product is still horrible. The magic doesn’t exist here. And the intermittent electricity means that wines are kept at constantly variable temperature. They don’t like that. They’ve told me – in the form of intense gastrointestinal distress upon consumption. Also, Egypt is not really a “wine culture” – Muslims self-impose varying levels of abstinence from alcohol, and when they DO consume, it tends to be either the beer (see above) or liquor.

A friend recently posted a link to this wine blog talking about Egyptian wines. We both got a number of laughs out of the tasting notes. For those of you who have tried the wines while here you will probably recognize and/or viscerally remember and agree with the assessments.

For those of you who know me you know that I LOVE to drink wine. Egypt has nearly cured me of that. The trip to Paris (and our lovely guests who have helped supply our coffers with decent, imported wine) has given me faith in wine again. Il hamdulil’allah!!!

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