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The Négrette Grape


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About Négrette

(Synonyms: Cap de More, Dégoûtant, Morelet, Morillon, Mourrelet, Négralet, Négret, Négret de Gaillac, Négret du Tarn, Négrette de Fronton, Noirien, Pinot St George, Vesparo Noir.)

Background

Map showing the Fronton AOP.

Négrette is a red-wine grape whose origins are clouded by time, but which has been cultivated in the Gaillac region of France since (as Jancis Robinson puts it) time immemorial. It is nowadays cultivated in southwestern France, notably around the town of Fronton, which gives its name to the Fronton appellation. In that region, Négrette must be at least 50% of a grower’s vineyard. The variety is rarely seen outside its AOP, save for some in San Benito County, California (where it was long known as Pinot St George).

Words that tend to crop up in describing Négrette wines are supple and perfumed. Many sources say that the wines should be drunk young, but others say that they can take at least some bottle age. Ya pays yer money an’ ya takes yer chances.

Négrette wines are normally quite deep in color. Their “perfume” seems, by report, to be very much of violets, but with all sorts of other interesting spice/herb aromas, and tastes. While Négrette is often used in blends, most reviewers seem firm on the point that its distinctive qualities get rapidly submerged by almost any blend partner, so monovarietal Négrettes are the ones to cherish. The wines are generally low in tannins and acidity, leading to that oft-mentioned “supple” or “silky” quality so much associated with the variety.

Factoid: Négrette is—with tedious regularity—said to have been brought to Europe from Cyprus by the Knights Templar. Maybe so, but there’s no evidence for it.

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Some Descriptions of Négrette Wines

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Some Négrettes to Try

(About this list.)

As is too often the case, we have a delightful wine variety that, because it is not well known in the U.S., is hard to find. Here is what we came up with, and even of these few, some have only limited availability.


Château La Colombière “Vinum” Négrette
(A Fronton wine.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Le Roc “La Folle” Noire d’Ambat Fronton

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Arbeau “Et Ici Chez Elle à Toulouse On L’Appelle Négrette”
(A Fronton wine.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

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For a Splurge

We could find no reasonably available Négrette wines better enough than those listed above as to justify a “splurge” price.

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This page was last modified on Monday, 23 March 2020, at 3:52 pm Pacific Time.