Indigenous Variety Négrette from south-west France now available in Australia
The main variety in Le Bouissel is Négrette, meaning “black” in the local dialect. According to Jancis Robinson’s tome Wine Grapes, these deeply coloured grapes are a “supple, fruity and distinctive variety that has thrived for centuries just north of Toulouse”. The origins of Négrette has not been confirmed by DNA studies to date. Some claim it has been grown in the region since the time of the ancient Gauls. Others say it was introduced to France from the Crusades by the Knights Templar and planted in their vineyards near Toulouse in the 14th century. It is possibly descended from a grape variety, Mayro, indigenous to Cyprus, and perhaps crossed with wild vines growing locally. It has soft, spicy characteristics with modest acid levels making wines best for early drinking. Négrette is now grown exclusively in Fronton.
Anne-Marie and Pierre Selle, with their son Nicolas, the third generation at Chateau Bouissel, are renowned for the quality and consistency of their wines, which emphasise the terroir of Fronton. They are ideally situated on the third terrace above the Tarn river. They are at the vanguard of the appellation, leading its revival, removing international varieties such as cabernet and merlot and replanting with Négrette best suited to the local conditions. They use modern techniques to make clean, modern and authentic wines tat appeal to the domestic and international market. They are converting to organic production and will be fully accredited with releases of 2012 vintage wines.
Pierre says “we aim to create a bond between vine and man, and we are attentive to the needs of one and the expectations of the other. That’s how we like our wines, when the fruit of our vines satisfies your palate. We like to try to help our vines gently along, to encourage them to yield the best fruit they can; that’s why we choose to use as little chemical products as possible.”
Château Bouissel, Le Bouissel, 2010
Grapes: 50% Négrette, 25% Shiraz, 25% Malbec
Wine making: Long maceration (18 days). Fermentation and maceration with micro-oxygenation. Twelve month ageing period in stainless steel tanks and 10% in oak barrels.
2010 was an irregular year with perfect spring conditions, followed by rain and warm weather in summer with cool nights preserving the freshness of the grapes.
Our tasting notes: Nice and intense ruby colour with purple tints. Intense aromas of small red and black fruit, of spices (liquorice and pepper) and of flowers (violet and peony). This wine is both powerful and harmonious. The first taste is velvety, the mouth feel is ample and rich and the finish is long with great balance.
Accolades: This wine was awarded a gold medal by Concours des Vignerons Independent in 2013.
The American magazine “Wine Enthusiast” has awarded it 91 points.
A classic from the southwest of France. Powerful fruit wrapped in soft tannins.