In the 1950s North Africa was one of the most important sources of wine for European consumption, when French blending vats depended heavily on the deep, heady reds produced in colonial Algeria. Today, wine production along the North African coast is plummeting as the influence of Islam increases, but Morocco still makes some interesting wines and has the potential to produce more. Wine production is still geared to tourists and export to couscous cafés all over France with characterful dry pink wines sold as Vin Gris being typical. Whites can seem very heavy indeed (although Domaine du Val d’Argan produces a fine, varietally-expressive Roussane) but links with Bordeaux persist and the likes of Domaine de la Zouina, Thalvin (with Alain Graillot of Crozes-Hermitage), Les Celliers de Meknes and even the actor Gérard Depardieu with his Deux Domaines have produced the odd perfectly respectable, if fairly strapping, dry red. There should be no shortage of old bush vines here. Algeria is virtually a no go area; Tunisian quality is spotty to say the least; and Egypt is rumoured to be producing drinkable wine for tourists at last.

In a nutshell

An ignominious history but a promising future.