Vin de France & Grape Varieties


Encyclopedia of French Grape Varieties

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Red Rosé

Négrette is a grape variety that comes from the most continental part of southwestern France.

Négrette's main aromas of violet, red fruits such as raspberry, and licorice lend its wines a delicious harmony.

Wines produced
Négrette makes pleasant, highly aromatic wines that are rich in anthocyanins (pigments). They are generally low in tannin and acid, which means they can be aged only for a short time. For this reason, these wines are best enjoyed when they are young. Négrette is also used to make balanced rosé wines with solid fruity aromas.

Areas planted
Négrette is primarily grown in the vineyards to the north and east of Toulouse, in southwestern France. In 2006, there were around 1,500 hectares of Négrette grown in France, i.e. 375 hectares more than in 1979, when the grape variety was least used.

Budding and ripening
Négrette is a relatively late grape variety, as it buds 9 days after Chasselas, the benchmark. It reaches full ripeness around 2 to 2 1/2 weeks after Chasselas, making it a slight late variety at the end of its vegetative cycle. Négrette is thus a Period II grape.

Négrette is a vigorous and relatively fertile variety when pruned short. However, it is well known for its susceptibility to shatter and shot berries, as well as to low or poor fertilization in case of cold or rainy weather during flowering, which makes its production inconsistent.

Preferred soils
Négrette is unproductive in clay-limestone soils, and prefers siliceous clay soils with a high proportion of sand and gravel. These soils, called Boulbènes, are more acidic and suit Négrette better than pure limestone soils. This grape variety also benefits greatly from iron in the soil.

Ideal Climate
Négrette requires hot, relatively dry summers, but it does not fare well in extreme dryness or excessive humidity. The region to the south of Toulouse, with its hot summers punctuated by thunderstorms, is well suited to this grape variety.

Susceptibility to disease and pests
Négrette N is highly susceptible to gray rot, oidium, leafhoppers and mites.

Négrette is used only to produce wine.

Distinctive features
Négrette can be recognized namely by its young green or yellow leaves. New shoots are densely covered in flat-lying hairs. Its adult leaves are dark green, orbicular and whole, with five barely distinguishable lobes. The uniqueness of Négrette's leaf lies in its petiolar sinus: its edges are parallel, and the secondary veins start at the petiolar point. The teeth of the lobes are short with convex sides. Negrette's leaf blade is flat, shiny, bubbled and slightly revolute. Its lower surface has a sparse to moderately-dense coat of upright hairs and a moderately dense coat of flat-lying hairs. Finally, Négrette's berries are round or slightly oblong, and its bunches are small and compact.

Clones marketed
The five approved Négrette clones (specifically named Négrette N) are numbers 456, 580, 581, 582 and 663. The conservatory set up in 1997 in the vineyards of Fronton (Haute-Garonne) includes 190 clones.

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