When most people think of wine regions, they tend to know about Old World regions, such as Bordeaux, France, or Tuscany, Italy, or New World wine regions, such as Napa Valley in California. However, few people know about the high-quality wines being produced in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), including in Egypt. One winery in particular that is changing the wine industry in Egypt is the Kouroum Vineyard. With a passion for putting local wines on the map, Kouroum aims to bring back the tradition of winemaking to Egypt, which has a history of wine production going back to the times of the pharaohs.
Located in El Gouna, Kouroum Vineyard cultivates its grapes on several vineyards in the Nile Delta. Despite the challenge of growing grapes in the desert climate, with sandy soil and high temperatures, Kouroum Vineyard has proven that it is up to the challenge, as evidenced by the numerous accolades it has earned since its inception in 2001. The winery in El Gouna features all the necessary equipment to meet both European and American wine production standards, including stainless steel tanks for fermentation, stabilization tanks, and machines for filling, rinsing, labeling, and corking bottles. The winery even features large refrigeration space to allow for precise temperature control during fermentation.
With cutting-edge technology and carefully maintained local vineyards, Kouroum is producing a number of award-winning wines with multiple grape varieties. Read on to learn more about some of Kouroum’s products.
Jardin du Nil
The Jardin du Nil white wine is a blend of Viognier and Vermentino grapes and has won a number of awards, such as the bronze medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards in London in 2012. The Jardin du Nil red wine comes from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petit Verdot. This full-bodied wine features strong flavors of licorice and blueberries, as well as aromas of iris and blackberries. The 2009 vintage won a silver award at the Challenge Millésime Bio 2012 in Montpellier, France.
Kouroum also features a number of wines under the name Beausoleil d’Egypte, including a white wine made from the native Egyptian Bannati grape. With aromas of melon and honey and a vanilla finish, this white wine earned a silver medal at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles and a commendation at the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2016.
The Beausoleil d’Egypte line also includes two red wines, a Syrah and a Cabernet Sauvignon. The Syrah is a well-balanced wine with fresh acidity and fruity aromas, while the Cabernet features aromas of vanilla and roasted nuts and a long-lasting finish. The Beausoleil d’Egypte line also features a rosé made from the Merlot grape. With aromas of tangerine peel and cherries, this wine garnered a silver medal at the Challenge Millésime Bio 2013 and a commendation from the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2016. Finally, Kouroum produces a Beausoleil d’Egypte port made with Grenache that features a silky texture and sweet finish.
Kouroum’s Shahrazade product line also includes white, red, and rosé wines. The white is a dry wine made of Vermentino and Chardonnay and features aromas of citrus and ripe peach, as well as a slightly sweet finish. The Shahrazade red is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that has smooth tannins and an aroma of strawberries. Finally, the Shahrazade rosé differs from the Beausoleil d’Egypte version in that it consists of a blend of Grenache and Montepulciano. Among the distinguishing features of this dry rosé are its aromas of ripe fruit and fresh herbs.
Named after Baron Empain, who developed the town of Heliopolis (now an affluent suburb of Cairo), LE Baron is Kouroum’s line of sparkling wines. The Classic White in this line is made according to the “méthode traditionelle,” the time-honored method for producing sparkling wine developed in Champagne, France. Made mostly with Chardonnay and aged for 12 to 18 months, the LE Baron Classic White gives off pear and apricot aromas and features an almost creamy taste. The LE Baron Classic Rosé, a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, also undergoes 12 to 18 months of aging and has a full-bodied finish. Finally, the LE Baron Signature is a blend of Pinot Noir and Grenache. Aged for 36 months, the Signature earned a commendation at the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2016.
In addition to producing high-quality wines, Kouroum has developed a series of fine spirits, including its Mosaic Grappa style eau-de-vie. This unique spirit is made from grape pomace in an authentic copper gooseneck pot still and is best served chilled. Kouroum also offers an eau-de-vie de vin, a cognac-style spirit that is made from Egypt’s Bannati grape and undergoes a year of aging in oak barrels. Finally, Kouroum makes a beverage called Kesrouan, a triple-distilled Lebanese arak carefully crafted with organic grapes.
With a wide selection of wines and spirits made from high-quality local products, Kouroum is contributing to the development of Egypt’s wine culture and setting the standard for quality wine in the country.