Legend has it that the Négrette, this black grape variety characteristic of the Fronton vineyards, was brought back here from Cyprus by the Knights Hospitallers of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. Certainly, it has been proved that the Knights were here, but modern research into grapes and grape varieties tends to indicate that this endemic variety originated locally, around the banks of the Tarn.
Whatever its true origins, the Négrette is well and truly here, and nowhere else. Fronton is the only appellation to have claimed for its own this variety which, whilst a touch capricious, yields elegant, well-structured, aromatic wines with a flowery nose.
It is a capricious variety in that it is rather sensitive to certain cryptogamic diseases (caused by fungi) and therefore requires a lot of care. But the wine growers of Fronton, proud of their history and their roots, have chosen to keep this original, unique variety. They put all their knowledge and care into their work to bring you wines which are nowadays unanimously recognised as being of high quality.
As specified by the regulations governing the Fronton AOP, for reds and rosés, the Négrette variety must constitute the major part of the final blend. For some years now, certain wine-growers/makers have even been offering 100% Négrette wines, which are undeniably enjoying great success. Go on – try them : what are you waiting for ?!
As you will have realised, the Négrette gets its name from its black colour ; an intense colour which is also found in the wines themselves. But the Négrette’s major contribution is constituted by the characteristic aromas it brings of black fruits (blackberry, blackcurrant…), of violets, red fruits, liquorice and hints of pepper.