Saturday, October 23, 2010

Domaine Atlas Winery

Tunisia is unique in the Muslim world in that it has its own wine-making industry. Islam condemns utterly the use of alcohol, but here they make it. My principal calls Tunisia's approach "Muslim Lite".  In fact, they protect their wine growers to the extent of having a complete embargo on foreign wines of any kind. At international hotels you can get grain alcohol from all over the world - for a price - but the only wine you can buy here is Tunisian wine. It's, well, it's not horrible.

Anyway, on Saturday morning at 10, a bus load of us left the school for a trip to the Domaine Atlas Winery about an hour out of town in Cap Bon. It was a perfect day. The company was good, the weather cooperated, and a good time was had by all. We started with a brief tour of the facility, the harvest having been completed three weeks earlier.
Gleaming fermentation vats and lovely oak barrels

Just to give you a sense of the size of these things.

Many litres of Chateau September 30th.
 Then the tasting began. I really couldn't tell you how many wines we tasted. They were certainly not stingy with the variety or the quantity. After the first three or four, the buffet lunch was served, and what a fine spread it was. There was a lamb dish that had probably simmered for a day, two cold salads and one warm one, oven fried potatoes, their own olives, an eggplant dish and good bread. Through all this, the wine kept on coming.
Lunch on the patio

The rest of the merry band
 At the end of the meal, they collected our order forms, then loaded up the bus and the director's trunk with our booty. A good time was had by all. I bought two cases and three half bottles of late-harvest dessert wine. Drop by some time.
The bus ride home was considerably more voluble than the trip there!

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