This variety has its roots in the Middle East (most likely Iraq). It has been cultivated in the Tarn Valley in France since the beginning, around 2,000 years ago. 6th century manuscripts from this region mention a grape called “Mavro” (meaning “black” in Greek). Only in the 12th century did it become known as “Negrette”.
This black grape variety is widely used in the Fronton appellation and, to a lesser extent, in Charentes, Vendée and the Ile de Ré (often referred to here as Ragoûtant” or “Petit Noir”). It is also grown in California under the name “Pinot Saint George” or “California Pinot Noir”. Until recently, Negrette was only ever produced as part of a blend in Fronton but now it is authorised to be used in any proportion up to 100%. Many domains in this area dediacte a cuvée to this variety: Le Grain de Folie from Château Plaisance, La Folle Noire de Dabat from Domaine du Roc, Délit d'Initié from Château Laurou, La Négrette from Château Bouissel, Fantaisie from Château Joliet, Ce Vin from Domaine Bellevue la Forêt… On the palate, it expresses notes of violet, black fruit and liquorice. It also has pepper and light menthol aromas, giving it freshness and concentration.