The appellation is located north of the city of Carcassonne in the northwest of the French wine region Languedoc (in some sources it is assigned to southwest France). To the east is the AOC Minervois. The former VDQS area Côtes du Cabardès et de l'Orbiel was classified as AOC in 1999 and belongs to the second quality category "Grands Vins du Languedoc". The vineyards cover 550 hectares of vineyards on the southern slopes of the Montagne Noire mountain range on a variety of soils of granite, limestone, clay, loam, marl and slate. They extend over 15 kilometres across 18 communes in the department of Aude.
Compared to the other Languedoc wines, Bordeaux wines may be blended with the typical grape varieties of southern France. This derogation was granted because of the special climatic conditions (a mixture of Mediterranean and Atlantic climate) and because of the special type of soil. Red wine and rosé are produced from at least 40% Grenache Noir and Syrah, at least 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, as well as Malbec(Cot) and Fer (Carignan Noir is no longer permitted). Well known producers are Domaine de Cabrol, Château de Pennautier, Château Rivals and Château Ventenac.