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Fronton

Départements - Haute-Garonne and Tarn et Garonne
AOC status - since 1975
Surface - 2,400 ha
Soils - gravel, alluvial
Production - 100,000 hl
Producers - 55 producers and 2 cooperatives (50% of production)
Grapes - 55% Négrette, 25% Cabernets, 15% Syrah, 5% Gamay, Fer Servadou, Malbec, Cinsault, Mauzac and Merille

See Château Montauriol     South-West France     Map

The Tarn Valley was first planted by the Romans but it wasn't until the 12th Century that the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem brought the dark red Mavro (Greek for "black") from Cyprus and planted it here. It is now the principal variety of the Fronton appellation which requires its red and rosé wines to include between 50% and 70% Négrette as it became known in the Frontonnais, the rest to include Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon (no more than 25% combined) and/or Malbec (no more than 25%) and/or Fer Servadou (no more than 25%) and/or Syrah (no more than 25%) and/or Cinsaut, Gamay, white Mauzac and Merille (no more than 15% combined). It's rather complicated but, clearly, at least three varieties must be used and theoretically all ten could be included.

Wines made from Négrette can often be enjoyed young - Fronton is the wine consumed in the bars of Toulouse - it is rather like Beaujolais on steroids because of the carbonic maceration technique employed to extract as much fruit as possible. Négrette makes wines which are low in acidity and not generally tannic. As such most wines are meant to be enjoyed young when it has a fruity bubblegum character. The better wines do age well (Montauriol's "Caprice d'Adrien" is the perfect example of this: it is closer to Château Latour in style than a bottle of Fleurie).

 

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