Négrette N

@ Gilles Cattiau / INRA

Négrette is part of the Conoïdes family in the southwest. Legend has it that this grape variety comes from the Middle East where it was introduced by the Templars. As the vineyards of the Frontonnais are located in the westernmost area of the Roman settlements, one can imagine that the Négrette, like the Cot (Malbec) in Cahors, originated from the fertilization of a native wild vine by the pollen from a Mediterranean grape variety.

Ampelographer Charles Tallavigne, in Viala and Vermorel (1910), points out its importance in the fourteenth century in the vineyards of Gaillac, in the Tarn, in the vineyards of Fronton, Villaudric, Carbonne and Cazères, in the Haute-Garonne, and even in the six cantons in the Gers under the name of Vesparo.

However, in the Gers, the main red grape variety at that time was Cot (Malbec), also known as Vesparo. We are thus led to deduce that there was confusion on the part of the observer in this department. Furthermore, Tallavigne cites errors of identification made by some other observers who were studying Négrette. Still according to Tallavigne, its origin is unknown, but he believes that, despite the names Negret, Négretta, Négretto which are attributed to it, it cannot be of Italian origin, contrary to what the consonance of the last two synonyms might suggest. Guy Lavignac confirms this point of view, each vineyard in the southwest having its own Négret.

Négrette took root in the Haute Garonne, Tarn et Garonne and formerly in the Tarn from where it has since disappeared – as well as Cot (Malbec) – to the benefit of the Duras and Fer Servadou varieties. It’s also absent from the Pyrenean vineyards because it is sensitivity to grey rot. Négrette is a grape variety that exists in three types, which differ in the shapes of their grapes.

The Négrette vines present cottony buds with carmine edging and young fluffy leaves, very soft underneath. Adult leaves are quinquelobed, upper lateral sinuses shallow, lower more lyre-shaped. They have medium bunches with round grapes.

Very versatile, Négrette gives fruity and aromatic wines evoking sometimes violet perfumes, sometimes more animal flavors (leather notes).

Vinified into rosé, we obtain products of excellent quality and very balanced.
Other aromas are of cocoa, burnt rubber, blackcurrant, strawberry, raspberry, jasmine, pepper, licorice, violet…

Production area: 1,056 ha (2,609 acres)

@ Gilles Cattiau / INRA