Red grape varieties
SOUTH WEST VINEYARDS
Old native grape varieties like Négrette, Duras, Tannat, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Fer Servadou generate very original flavours and forge the identity and personality of red wines from the Southwest.
Négrette is a member of the Prunelard and Cot family, both native to the Southwest. It buds early and produces small, tight bunches of highly coloured grapes that are often sensitive to powdery mildew and grey mould. A multi-purpose grape, Négrette produces fruity, aromatic wines that evoke the fragrance of violets as well as more animal flavours (leather notes).
The main component in Fronton wines, it helps create fruity rosé and red wines to enjoy young and wines for laying down that can be described as “highly expressive”.
The Duras grape bears no relation to the town of the same name in Lot et Garonne. It takes its name from the hardness of its branches. Duras is certainly one of the most ancient grape varieties grown in Tarn and is one of the jewels of Gaillac where it creates an excellent highly coloured red wine with elegant tannins and spicy and pepper aromas.
Tannat, from the Adour basin, is the cornerstone of Madiran (minimum 60% of the vines) and Saint-Mont (minimum 70% of the vines).
It is also grown in the Irouléguy and Tursan appellations where it brings richness and structure to the blends. Ripening very late, its heavy and compact bunches are very high in sugar, tannins – its name clearly evokes this characteristic – and colour. Long ago, it was used to make very concentrated wines that required long ageing to fulfil their potential. Today thanks to cultural changes and new winemaking techniques, Tannat produces more flexible, intensely fruity and very balanced wines.
Cot, Malbec or Auxerrois
Cot, often called Malbec outside the Southwest of France where it is also known as “Auxerrois”, was the most cultivated grape in the region before phylloxera. Thanks to perfectly mastered winemaking techniques, many Cahors vintners – where Malbec represents at least 70% of blends – produce elegant, fragrant wines promised to many years in the cellar. The region also produces Cahors reds that are more focused on the fruity expression of Malbec and designed to be enjoyed as younger wines. Malbec grapes are also grown in Côtes-de-Brulhois.
Cabernet France comes from the Basque area of the Pyrenees. Its average-sized bunches are formed of small dark grapes that produce a wine that is both elegant and quite structured, with characteristic fragrances of raspberry. Less tannic and colourful than Cabernet Sauvignon, it is a more precocious wine and has adapted well to cool terroirs. In Madiran, it is also called Bouchy (Bouchet in Libourne); in the Basque country in Irouléguy it is known as Acheria.
Fer Servadou stands out with its deep colour, late-ripening grapes and their aromas of blackcurrant which are sometimes reminiscent of Cabernet Sauvignon. It has an appealing structure and is often used in blends in Madiran and Saint-Mont (under the name Pinenc) and in Gaillac (where it is called Braucol). It is almost the only grape from Marcillac, answering to the name Mansois, where it gives the wine a distinct aromatic character with spicy accents. It plays an important role in red wines from Entraygues and Estaing in Aveyron.
An emblem of the Côtes-du-Marmandais vineyard, this early-harvest grape is the half-sibling of Malbec and Merlot. Tannic and colorful, it adds structure and aromas of ripe fruit to blends.
South West Vineyards
Centre INRA - Chemin de Borde Rouge
CS 52637 - 31321 Castanet Tolosan cedex
Phone : (+33) 5 61 73 87 06
Fax : (+33) 5 61 75 64 39
Monday to Friday : 9 am - 5 pm
Alcohol abuse is dangerous for health. To consume with moderation.