Matthew's World of Wine and Drink

About Matthew's World of Wine and Drink.

This blog began as a record of taking the WSET Diploma, during which I studied and explored wines and spirits made all around the world. Having passed the Diploma and become a WSET Certified Educator, the blog has become much more: a continual outlet for my passion for the culture of wine, spirits, and beer.

I aim to educate in an informal, enlightening, and engaging manner. As well as maintaining this blog to track my latest enthusiasms, I provide educational tastings for restaurants and for private groups. Details can be found on the website, and collaborations are welcome.

Wine is my primary interest and area of expertise and this blog aims to immerse the reader in the history of wine, to understand why wine tastes like it does, and to explore all the latest news. At the same time, beer and spirits will never be ignored. 

For the drinker, whether casual or professional, today is a good time to be alive.

Château Coutinel "On l'appelle négrette" 2016

Château Coutinel "On l'appelle négrette" 2016

Négrette is one of many obscure but historic grape varieties grown in south-west France (see my recent podcast episode for more). Despite that obscurity, it's known by several different names as the wonderful label of this wine indicates. It was, erroneously, thought that the grape originated from Cyprus, so one of its homonyms is Mavro which is the most planted grape in Cyprus. Mavro, incidentally, means black in Greek, while Négrette means little black grape. In the nineteenth century, the grape was planted in California where it was known as Pinot Saint Georges; its popularity in the state also led to it being called Pinot Noir de Californie.

The style of wine Négrette produces is young, fruity, and floral, making the grape quite different from the heavy, tannic varieties planted in nearby Gaillac, Madiran, and Cahors. It's mainly planted in Fronton, where it must be 50% of the final wine, the rest potentially being made up with Syrah. It's not a particularly easy grape to work with, as it's prone to rot and powdery mildew, so the warm climate of south-west France is very helpful.

"On l'appelle négrette" is made under the Château Coutinel label, which is part of a much larger winery and distillery (this is armagnac country) called Vignobles Arbeau. I bought the wine for two reasons: I hadn't tried Négrette for a while and because of the label. It simply lists all the names Négrette is known by, concluding: "et ici, chez elle, à toulouse, on l'appelle négrette" (and here, in its home, in Toulouse, we call it Négrette).

The wine is as light and fruity as Négrette should be, but it has firm tannins which give the wine great balance and structure. Amazing value at $16, and extremely food friendly. Not dissimilar to quality Beaujolais.

Vintage: 2016

Grape Variety: Négrette

Region: Fronton, France

Alcohol: 12.5%

Rating: ✪✪✪✪

Drink: now-2019

Food pairing: dishes with rich sauces or pizza

Lustau Los Arcos Amontillado

Lustau Los Arcos Amontillado

Aster Ribera del Duero 2008

Aster Ribera del Duero 2008