Union Central des Coopératives Viticoles ‘Les Vignerons de Carthage’

Established in 1948 pre-Independence, UCCV is Tunisia’s largest and most important wine producer.

Some might choose to overlook the output of anything calling itself a cooperative, though to do so would be to overlook some of Tunisia’s best wines. The company is a complex arrangement of state-owned estates and local and international partnerships, which together account for the majority of Tunisia’s output. The company is worthy of note for more than statistics alone, as since the early nineties UCCV has invested considerable amounts in modernising everything from the vineyards to the labels, giving the wines a more international style both in taste and presentation. This renaissance is largely the result of efforts by Belgacem D’Khili, the company’s Directeur Général. A doctor in viticulture, he began by planting international varieties and changing vineyard practices away from those concerned purely with creating bulk wine.

UCCV's wines

  • ***½

    Vieux Magon AOC Mornag 2001

    Grapes: 60% Carignan (50 years), 40% Syrah

    Deep red to purple. Warm brooding nose with good depth of fruit. Supple plummy notes, oak and figs, and secondary aromatics: dusty spices and dry earth. Voluptuous palate. Plenty of fine tannins. Rich, viscous and balanced. Not too alcoholic. Fine and persistent with dried berries and cherry on length. Still lively.

  • ****

    Vieux Magon AOC Mornag 2002

    Grapes: 60% Carignan (50 years), 40% Syrah

    Deeply coloured and more purple than 2001. Fresher nose than 2001 too. Again plummy in style. Syrah influence showing with medicine, spices and pepper over berry fruit. Big on the palate. Plentiful tannins, though not as developed in flavour. A hint of green overlaying, but still very good. Fresher and more primary flavour. Needs time. I prefer it, but he says the 2001 was considered the classic.

  • ***

    Domaine Clipea Chardonnay

    Gold. Clean, international style. Appealing. Light oak over crisp nectarine on the nose. Fresh, apple fruits on the palate, nicely balanced and not overly rich. Pleasant and quite elegant. Light peachy finish.

  • **½

    Magon Rosé

    Grapes: Cincault, Grenache

    Fresh pink colour. Savoury nose. Simple berry aromas. Pleasant, crisp and cleansing.

  • **

    Muscat de Kelibia - AOC 1er Cru Kelibia

    Light straw colour. Lively Muscat nose with mouth-watering grapey aromatics and tropical fruits hinting at sweetness. Clean and pleasing. Perfectly dry palate. A little musk and earthy notes over fruit. Clean acidic style, though losing character mid-palate. Short length.

  • **½

    Sidi Saad - Grand Cru Mornag

    Grapes: Carignan, Syrah, Mourvèdre

    Ruby red. Gently aged nose. Light pleasant berry characters and secondary aromatics. Pleasant palate feel. Clean acidity. Simple and flavoursome, but losing a little fruit mid-palate and a touch dry on the finish. Losing flesh but still enjoyable.

  • *½

    Les Domaines de Carthage Syrah

    Medium red. Farmyard nose. A little funky but not unpleasant. Some light spice. Medium rich palate, chunky red fruit, a hint of volatile acidity and CO2.

  • **

    Les Domaines de Carthage Merlot

    Medium red, purple hint. Muted nose. A little stemmy. Palate better with a pleasing balance. Quite chunky to voluptuous feel. Cherry, plum, black fruits and hints of earth.

  • **

    Les Domaines de Carthage Pinot Noir

    Pale red. Light, warm nose. A little sweet. Cherry. Soft light palate. Strawberry jam, light herb, raisin notes.