Negrette grape – Grenouilleres 2009

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For this rare French grape I’m tempted to start with the Edith Piaf lyrics ‘….je ne regrette rien’, but I will – regret it, I mean. Sorry.

Right, this is the dominant grape of the AC Cote de Frontannais, a small appellation south east of Bordeaux and north of Toulouse. It’s also grown in California but this wine comes from the Loire Meridionelle and is a VdP de Vendees i.e. an area close to the mouth of the river Loire. It’s Mourat’s Grenouillere 2009.

The colour is a dense purple, almost black but still has a purple rim. The bouquet is one, fleetingly, of spice and fresh raspberry fruit a la Cabernet Franc but mutated into a more southern French smell of grenache – all dark fruits and plummy.

The palate belied the rather big fruity nose being quite gentle and smooth, almost delicate with low tannins but a good mouth feel. It also had the medicinal cough mixture taste (not in an unpleasant way); just one element that stood out in a beguiling, complex wine.

We both liked it but whether we’ll taste one again, I don’t know. The grape is difficult to grow, evidently, being rather susceptible to disease but I will be looking out for AC Frontannais, just to have another try.

[Richard: I bought this three years ago for £12 from the WS who say very old vines are used to make the wine. Cabernet Franc is allowed under appellation rules and I’m sure I could taste some. An interesting drink and, at that price, I’d buy again, if the WS stocked it, which they don’t.]

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