Ethiopian wine

The Daily Courier - - WINE & DINE -

Who knew wine is made in Ethiopia? My wife and I dis­cov­ered this fun fact while fly­ing from Toronto to the coun­try’s cap­i­tal of Ad­dis Ababa on Ethiopian Air­lines.

Our fi­nal des­ti­na­tion was not this coun­try in the horn of Africa, but an­other flight on­ward to the Sey­chelles is­lands in the In­dian Ocean for some sail­ing.

How­ever, we made the most of our time on Ethiopian Air­lines (13 hours from Toronto to Ad­dis Ababa) by loung­ing, eat­ing, drink­ing and sleep­ing in the lie-flat seats of busi­ness class.

There was real French Lal­lier Cham­pagne, of course, as well as some other French and South African red and white wine choices.

But, what caught our eye, and our palate, was the Chardon­nay and Mer­lot from Ethiopia’s Rift Val­ley Win­ery.

The Rift is a lush high-al­ti­tude val­ley where the eastern African cooler cli­mate and sandy soil is per­fect for grow­ing grapes.

The pre­dom­i­nant va­ri­eties grown are the clas­sic French Chardon­nay and Mer­lot be­cause the wine­mak­ers are from the French con­glom­er­ate Cas­tel.

The Chard, an un­oaked ver­sion with hints of honey, peach and apri­cot, went well with the Ethiopian chicken curry stew and in­jera bread. The full-bod­ied, plummy Mer­lot was served with the cheese course.

Steve MacNaull is The Okana­gan Week­end’s busi­ness and wine re­porter and colum­nist. Reach him at [email protected]

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