I stare hard at the grocery wine aisle in Dublin’s Marks & Spencer.
What looks weird, new, cheap but decent? I spot a French bottle. Good. Peyres de Loubert makes it. Good. The funny guy hefting a barrel on the copper foil means they produce independently. Good. It comes from Fronton, South West France, a value region with aspirations for greatness. Good. 2009 was a warm, solid vintage. Good. 13.5% alcohol show restraint for the South. Good. The grapes are Négrette. Wait…what?
Soon Madame Piaf’s shrill vibrato sings through my head, “Non, rein de rein. Non, je NEGRETTE rein”.
I decide to also “Negrette” nothing and buy it for $13 American.
Back in our homestay in Blackrock:
It looks clear, medium plus intense purple ruby in color, with a short clear rim and deep core.
The aromas smell of medium intense bacon and beef jerky, Brett, mint, old oak, cracked black pepper, and those burnt fruit bits you find on the edge of blackberry pie.
The palate feels dry, with medium acidity, medium plus chalky tannins, restrained 13.5% alcohol, and a medium plus body.
Medium intense flavors taste of dusty chalk, burnt earth, blackberry juice, apple juice, and dry pine wood. The length is medium. The verdict: good (3 of 5). Drink now or hold a few years.
This Négrette’s chalky tannins and hot climate fruit needs food. A baked potato fits it nicely.
The grape has fallen from fashion in France. Oidium and grey rot find it easily in wet climates like the Loire and ruin harvests. Only Fronton, California, and other hotter, drier climates with some continentality can pull it off. Its direct origins in sunny Cyprus as Mavro rootstock might explain this.
Either way, Peyres de Loubert have managed a solid, ageable, complex, meaty red for only $13. I Négrette nothing…except that pun probably.
Have you tried Négrette or other wines from Fronton? If so, let me know!
Great Piaf shot, bet she liked blackberry pie, too.