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Le Roc seems to me to produce the most exuberantly violet and licorice-perfumed of Fronton reds, but there are a growing number of estates making fine wine.Château Laurou 2005 has an abundance of creamy black (cherry) fruit and a hint of chocolate, with good, fresh acidity.Château Plaisance 2004 (neither fined nor filtered) is deeply coloured, with great depth of soft, rich, red/black fruit perfumed by violets, and its top cuvee 'Tot Çò Que Cal' (just 2,000 bottles, and a yield restricted to 30 hl/ha) has an impressive intensity of black fruit supported by spicy oak.Even though Négrette musts are relatively low in tannin, David Vigouroux uses micro-oxygenation (the very slow release of oxygen in a tank of newly-fermented wine over a period of weeks) to try to emphasise the fruit in his red wines.He agrees with Frédéric Ribes that yields must be restricted and says that growers who have been tempted to add too much fertiliser to the soil, have sometimes paid a heavy price for their greed.David uses as few chemicals as possible in the vineyard (he's followed a 'lutte raisonnée' regime for ten years), but Frédéric believes that organic viticulture is the best solution and is working with his blues-playing brother Jean-Luc to convert their 21 hectare vineyard.
Roughly half of Fronton's 2,400 hectares are in the hands of co-operatives.
The best I have tasted is, perhaps, that from Le Roc.
The 2006 is 70% Négrette, with 25% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and combines a creamy red fruits smell with a soft, slightly mineral red fruits taste.
Frédéric makes the wine at his family property, Domaine Le Roc.
A tank sample of 100% Négrette (2006) was highly aromatic, perfumed and floral with soft, rich, silky fruit (at 13.8% abv).
Even his 'Classic' blend, which features 60% Négrette with 25% Syrah and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon (I tasted the 20 vintages) has a wonderfully floral, spicy nose; quite raspberry in '04, richer, more licorice, in '05.