‘e’ Wine of the Week
by Bruce Cochran
Let’s give a little encouragement again this week to our readers pursuing the noble goal of tasting wines from 100 different grape varieties. It’s not easy, but the wonderful surprises of different flavors and styles found along the way make it well worth the effort. Those of you who have tasted Rosa di Rosa can chalk up a grape named Malbo Gentile (MAL bo jenTEE lay). That translates to “a nice Malbo.”
Try a new wine this week!
Kenneth Volk Vineyards Negrette
Some of my favorite wine grapes originated in the South of France, where the sunny Mediterranean climate ripens heat-loving grapes like few other regions can. The best known is probably Syrah (aka Shiraz), followed by Grenache (Garnacha farther down the coast in Spain), Mourvedre, Cinsault, Malbec and Counnoise. Many Mediterranean grape varieties are red, since red wine grapes often need more time to ripen and develop good color, and many whites see their crisp acidity “burned off” late in a warm growing season. Marsanne and Roussanne are two white exceptions, as is Viognier.
I found another one earlier this year, from a Mediterranean variety grown in a small single vineyard in California. It’s called Negrette, and it’s made by Kenneth Volk.
Negrette is a red wine grape from south central France. The label says southeast, around the old city of Toulouse.
As in the U.S. and many other countries, French regions offer a variety of climates that are reflected in very different menus and wine styles. More olive oil in the south than the north, more butter in the north than in the south and walnut oil along the Dordogne River upstream from Bordeaux.
Kenneth Volk Vineyards Negrette is a flavorful, moderately deeply colored red wine, with flavors tending more toward red fruits than black, with hints of oak, but not overpowering. This makes it a good companion for food, especially lighter dishes and mild cheeses. The finish is pretty smooth, making it drinkable while its flavors are youthful and vigorous. It retails locally for around $20.