wines of Val
d’Orbieu/La Cuvée Mythique
Domaines Listel, Rt. Nat. 112, BP126, 34202 Sète Cedex,
Ph: +33 (0)4 68 42 75 45
UK representative: Val d’Orbieu-Cordier (Tel: 020 7736 3350, e-mail:
Val d’Orbieu is
an interesting company. It’s not a co-op, but a growers’
association, with 180 growers and 15 co-ops from the South of France.
How does it work? Each domaine makes wines as it wishes, calling on
help from the association staff if it is needed, and makes use of the
pooled marketing resources (this is especially important; it allows
small domains to have a presence in the marketplace that they’d
otherwise lack). The nice thing about this arrangement is that unlike
the co-op system it tends to reward people who do good work.
Altogether sales top 20 million cases. La Cuvée Mythique is an
interesting wine. As a flagship of Val d’Orbieu, it is made
centrally: vignerons who supply grapes for this selected cuvee will
typically be visited four times by viticulturalists from the
association, and the result is quite impressive. The selection of
wines listed here are all listed in UK supermarkets (availability
details in brackets).
La Cuvée Mythique 1998
Bit of sweetness to the fruit on the nose, together with a touch
of caramel and spice. Rich spicy palate shows chunky, savoury fruit
and some complexity. Very good+ (Safeway, Waitrose, Coop £6.49; most
will now be on the 1999 vintage, below)
La Cuvée Mythique 1999
Deep coloured with an attractive herb-tinged spicy nose. Nice
spicy berry fruit on the palate: well structured with good acidity.
Nicely made and good concentration. Very good
(Safeway, Waitrose, Coop £6.49)
Château Villenouvette Corbières Cuvée Marvel Barsalou
Old vine Carignan. Ripe, liqouricey herby nose. Concentrated,
quite lush fruit on the palate with a savoury, tannic finish. Lovely
authentic wine. Very good+ (Safeway £7.99)
Château de Landure Minervois Cuvée de l’Abbé Fregouse
From rocky limestone soil. Deep coloured opaque red/black colour.
Rich sweet, herb and caramel edge to the nose. Lovely dense but
approachable palate with sweet herby fruit. Very southern and ripe.
Very good+ (Marks & Spencer £7.99)
Domaine La Cazal ‘Le Pas de Zarat’, Minervois 1999
From gravely soils, this dark coloured wine is dominated by Mourvèdre.
Beautifully fragrant hebal nose with a delicious, meaty, green olive
edge. Superb savoury, herbal, meaty palate with great balance. Quite
superb. Very good/excellent (Marks & Spencer £7.99)
Château Ribaute Corbières Cuvée Francois Le Noir 1998
A co-op wine, this is a blend of mainly Grenache and Mourvèdre.
Shy nose is quite traditional. Good concentration of chunky, herbal
fruit with firm tannins. Very
good (Marks & Spencer £7.99)
Domaine Contenson Merlot 1999
Bright berry fruit on the nose. Good concentration on the palate
with a slightly leafy edge to the fruit. Tasty but simple. Good/very
good (Safeway £4.49)
Wild Garrigue Minervois 1999
A blend of Syrah and Grenache. Quite a rich, sweetly fruited nose.
Rich, spicy palate with good dense fruit character. Impressive with a
savoury finish. Very good (Sainsbury £3.99)
Back to top