Thursday, 19 June 2014

Tanzania – Dodoma Dry Red

When I start planning a new trip abroad I usually open three tabs on my browser. On the first there are the monuments to visit and places to see. On the second there is the gastronomy: local dishes or specialties (there is always a tour in a local market and a supermarket when we go abroad, as we consider that see what the others eat is a way to get in touch with a new environment). 
On the third, of course, I google … wine.
Last year I’ve been to Tanzania three times. I my fist visit we went to Zanzibar with the whole family for a fantastic and relaxing week, but not so much of … local. The other two times I went to Dar Es Salaam and I started looking for wine. Even if the climate doesn’t really looks suitable for grapes I experienced that the passion for wine can usually win every adversity. Grapes arrived in Tanzania thanks to the Italian monks that came here to open mission. I bought three bottles in a local supermarket and … let’s taste the first.

The Vineyard

The Dodoma Wine Company (DOWICO) was established and funded directly from the Tanzanian government. Immediately after independence in 1961, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, now deceased, visited the region of Dodoma and was very much impressed with the plant. He requested the missionaries to assist the introduction of grapevine production in Dodoma region by providing planting materials and expertise.
This state created factory encouraged the production of grapes among local farmers, succeeding in creating a good business. DOWICO bought grapes from farmers, established a research centre to determine appropriate types of grapes of wines and encouraged more and more farmers to come forward and open grape farms. But the system collapsed in the nineties.
On the rests of DOWICO the private owned TDL (Tanzania Distilleries Ltd) bought the brand and restarted the production. They mainly focused on brandy and international wines production, supported by South African experts. 

The wine

Dodoma Dry Red comes from the collection of grapes of local farmers in the Dodoma region. The wine comes from the only red grape variety of the region, Makutupora.
The dry earth and sandy soil, combined with low humidity, are perfect for producing dry wines. There are two harvests seasons a year, in March and August-September and after each harvest the plant is “left in peace” for one month. The two harvests are very different from a qualitative point of view and usually only the August one is use for wine production. The intervention of TDL aims at increasing the output per acres as well as at driving local producers to a better exploitation of their fields.

Tasting Note

18 June 2014

Wine name
Grape Varieties
Service Temp.
18° C
Price (in euro)

Visual Examination
Taste analysis
Ruby Red
Quite Balanced
Scarcely consistent
Soft sensations
Medium Dry – Quite Soft
Hard sensations
Scarcely Tannic

Flavors intensity
Quite intense
Olfactory analysis
Tropical fruits, apricot
Aroma intensity
Quite intense

Scarcely complex
Scarcely persistent
Quite Fine
Overall evaluations
Tropical fruits, chocolate

Quite Harmonious

Food pairing

Its natural pairing is with Nyama Choma a local delicacy of roasted spiced meat, usually of goat or lamb

Tanzania is for sure not the most known country in the world for wine production. Nevertheless the passion and commitment of Italian missionaries has demonstrated that even there it is possible to produce wines. The TDL involvement will certainly help the development of the production probably not in terms of quantity but, hopefully, in terms of quality.
But my trip into Tanzanian wines is not over … 

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