Domaine des Ouled Thaleb, the land-based Moroccan half of this partnership, dates from 1927, when 3,000 hectares of vines were planted at Ben Slimane.

The estate is smaller today: only 400 hectares of vines remain at the original site, but the winery can boast that it is the oldest still in use in the country. Thalvin joined them in 1968, making it one of the oldest partnerships too. The estate draws on two other vineyards inland, giving diversity of climates and soils for the wide range of varieties planted. These give an equally varied range of wines from entry level to premium. New ‘garage’ bottlings using old vine stock are planned. Though original cement tanks are in use this is out of preference (new cement vats are being built) and the thinking here is modern and market-driven.

Thalvin - Domaine des Ouled Thaleb's wines

  • **

    Cuvée du Président White

    Grapes: Clairette, Ugni Blanc, Farranah

    Pale straw. Fresh nose, light blossom. Crisp and balanced. Medium weight. Light and savoury.

  • **½

    Première du Président Rosé

    Grapes: Cincault, Grenache, Syrah

    Pale pink. A little muted (recently bottled). Fresh strawberry, rosehip and herb. Some C02. Good structuring acidity. A little closed but some strawberry and savoury notes. Potentially good, but needs a little time.

  • **½

    Première du Président Red

    Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache

    Deep red. Green pepper nose, herbaceous Cabernet notes, some mint and parsley. Soft palate. Warm. A little sugar. Tight tannins. A little leafy, some earth and red fruit. OK.

  • ***

    Siroua Gris

    Grapes: 100% Cincault

    Pale pinky orange. Sweet bubble gum on the nose. Fresh jammy fruits beneath. Like entering a sweet shop. Clean acidity, plenty of fleshy fruits. Bonbon Anglais.

  • ***

    S de Siroua White

    Grapes: 100% Chardonnay

    Medium yellow. A little spritz on the appearance. Lively acidity. Peach and apple flavours, but no further layers of Chardonnay character. Pleasant wine, but there could be more to it.

  • ***½

    S de Siroua Red

    Inky black. Damson and tar on the nose. Soft, silky palate. Plenty of integrated tannin, rounded.

  • ***

    Médaillon Sauvignon

    Pale straw. Hint of sulphur. Pleasant nose. Hints of grass and greengage. Not a classic Sauvignon. Green plums and crisp apple, but few hints of Sauvignon. Nice enough wine though.

  • ***

    Médaillon Rosé

    Grapes: 100% Syrah

    Vibrant pink. Fresh nose. Balanced palate. Fresh berries, some cough mixture and strawberry.

  • ***

    Médaillon Red

    Grapes: Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot

    Dark red. Warm, plummy nose. Cherry and a little tar. Syrah influence. Soft, sweet palate. Fine tannins. Good balance, but not very complex. Tight finish. The wine is mostly structure at the moment and needs time, but I’m not convinced it has the aromatics to last.

  • **½

    CB (Cuvée barrique) White

    Grapes: 100% Chardonnay

    Gold colour. Vanilla oak over grape characters. Peach, lemon. Bigger palate, pleasant creamy feel. Enjoyable aromatics from barrique, though too much over the wine’s character. Oak dominates after initial sips, its character is too strong.

  • ***

    CB (Cuvée barrique) Red

    Grapes: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon (40-year-old vines)

    Medium red. Distinctive Cabernet nose. Currant fruits, some mint leaf. Soft, sweet and quite extracted. Hot on the mid-palate, greenish and nervy on the finish. At present structure wins over aromatics. Doubtful that aromas will last.

  • ***½

    Old Vine Syrah (From barrel)

    Dark purple. Deep and smoky: grape dominant above oak, farmyard hints. Fine, powerful tannins, sweet black cherry, ripe plums and prune influence, lovely palate feel and persistent aromatics.

  • ****½

    Syrah 60-year-old vines (From barrel)

    Dark purple. Deep nose. Tarry, damson jam, mixed spice, dried fruits. Huge tannins, both wood and wine. Globs of dry extract and plenty of aromatics: cherry, chocolate, spices, tobacco and angelica.

  • ****


    Grapes: 100% Syrah

    Deep red, purple hints. A real Rhône nose. Remarkably the same cigar smoke as a good Cornas. Restrained, very interesting, subtle and elegant. Medicinal, pepper and bitter damson. Coolish characters. Medium to full weight.