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  • By Jon Rimmerman
    8/22/2007, (See more on Garagiste...)

    (Bellevue La Foret Ce Vin) Negrette Dear Friends, This is one of those wines you’re going to have to give me some leeway with (ok, that’s almost every wine we offer but...) I’m on a plane today so I’ll try to be concise, but this parcel of 2005 Bellevue la Foret Ce Vin has just been confirmed and it’s what wine is all about. If you are searching for the soul of what can make inexpensive wine so delightful and so utterly captivating, it’s all here in this effusive bottle of one of France’s rarest treats - 100% Negrette. Negrette is a varietal originally planted in this area (just to the side of Toulouse) by settlers from Cyprus during the Crusades. It is one of the oldest varietals in the world and there is a strong argument that its light to medium bodied style and soaring perfume of spice and violets has never been duplicated again by another grape (it is often referred to as the Chanel Number 5 of wine grapes). For some reason Negrette only seems to grow properly in this small area of the Cotes du Frontonnais, where a bed of iron-rich gravel mixed with ground quartz is the basis for the soil. Chateau Bellevue la Foret is the best estate in the region and this wine is their homage to the ancient varietal. Where other wineries blend Negrette into Syrah or even Cabernet, the “Ce Vin” is a rare 100% Negrette and it is important to keep it that way. As they say, once you’ve had Negrette, you can never go back.... I don’t have to go into detail on how strong the 2005 vintage was in this area (almost a duplicate of Bordeaux) and while last year’s 2004 was quite good, this wine is bordering on downright great. For the price it is such a quintessential example of everyday delight that it makes me smile every time I try it. Last night, I allowed the wine two full hours of decant time and it kept improving and gaining in depth as the night wore on with some of the freshest, purest elemental flavors and aromas of dark fruits and flowers that captivated and titillated the senses (all while maintaining a medium bodied ultra low-alcohol profile, only 12.0-12.5%). I paired this wine with the last dregs of Sugo alla Sangiovannese sauce that I had and (while not a classic match - Cotes du Frontonnais with pasta?) the mixture of spices in the sauce and in the wine were terrific. It was one of those food and wine moments that inspired me to secure this parcel as soon as I arose this morning. This wine is a classic for the Cotes du Frontonnais and I’m sure part of that is the exemplary vintage. For this price, it represents an experimental foray that all of you should partake of. Like everything it seems, this has crept up in price in 2005 but it is worth far more than this. Already the recipient of a coveted Femivin award, the 2005 is in very short supply. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ONE SHIPMENT - the 2005 is already sold out/allocated at the winery so this is the only shipment we can obtain. 2005 Bellevue la Foret “Ce Vin” Frontonnais (Negrette) Thank you, Jon Rimmerman Garagiste Seattle, WA SOFR9995

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