Ambulle VdF Negrette 2019 - Domaine Le Roc - Côtes du Frontonnais, France 75cl
REGION: CÔTES DU FRONTONNAIS
GRAPE: SWEET SPARKLING
BOTTLE SIZE: 75CL
WINEMAKER: DOMAINE LE ROC
The Côtes du Frontonnais is a highly unique winemaking region located on the left bank of the Tarn River about twenty miles north of Toulouse. The area is generally flat, with occasional hills that create small slopes. The vineyard’s subsoil is composed of ice age deposits, topped by alluvial soil and rouget, a material very rich in iron that lends a particular flavour to the wines. The typical climate of the region is similar to that of Bordeaux: warm and dry in the summer, and mild and wet in the winter.
Jean-Luc and Frederic Ribes have always wanted to make Frontonnais with some oomph since they took over the Château Le Roc property in 1988. Soil composed of gravel and stone allied to low-yielding vines provided the foundation for this intention.
Le Roc Classique, made from a field blend of 65% Négrette, 25% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, is medium-bodied, with notes of red berries, cherry, a hint of violet and a touch of spice. Wonderful scent of parma violets, peonies and a suggestion of marzipan, medium-bodied with red fruits (cherries and raspberries), hint of leaf and some peppery notes. Soft tannins and a bright fresh finish. A distinctly savoury red this would go well with charcuterie and wild duck salmi. For those of a more quixotic disposition try the Cuvée Don (Négrette/Syrah 50/50) – a tilted windmill of extraordinary charm. This red will run up your nostrils and do backflips. This could be a northern Rhône with its fabulous floral effusion and roasted coffee tones. Monsieur Ribes believes in low yields and rigorous selection of fruit.
Roc’ Ambulle Vin de Table de France Turbullent to give its full name and address comes from Fronton near Toulouse. Flip the crown cap and you can almost hear the Marseilleise playing. A blend of goodness knows which and heaven knows what – we think Mauzac and Negrette are involved – this zero-sulphur slimline (9%) goodie is dark pink and discernibly sweet. It is petillant and has nice mousse and oozes sweet cherries, raspberries and peardrops. Whether it will always be thus or whether the sugars will ferment to dryness, neither God, nor even I suspect the grower even knows.
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