WINE OF THE WEEK: Château Bouissel Fronton Le Beau Vin 2016, Fronton, France

£8.95, The Wine Society

I'm always delighted to find a red Fronton to recommend. We don't see many wines in the UK from this small appellation in southwest France (about 30km north of Toulouse), but they're always worth a look. The best are deliciously supple, round and fruity, and yet with their own distinctive flavours thanks to the Négrette grape, which has to be the principal variety in any Fronton wine, red or rosé (there's no white).


It's a grape variety almost unknown outside Fronton and a few neighbouring appellations, perhaps because it's susceptible to poor flowering and fruit set, to botrytis and mildew and to various insect pests. But it likes the various alluvial, sandy clay, gravelly and silty soils of Fronton and has been in the region for hundreds of years – since the Knights Templar returned from the crusades, it's believed – so growers there have the measure of it.


This red, from the third-generation family-run Château Bouissel, is an unoaked blend of 60% Négrette with Syrah, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. It was aged in concrete tanks, so there's no oak to get in the way of its perfumed, wild rose and spicy berry fruit, graphite freshness and soft tar and leather hints.


Without oak and very modest tannin, it's easygoing with food. In the region, they quite often pair red Fronton with spices: I like it with spiced root veg, duck legs and quail (spices like cumin, coriander and five-spice), as well as with confit de canard, charcuterie, cassoulet and other bean casseroles. (I've also been served it with scallops by a grower, which might have worked if he hadn't chosen an ambitious, oak-matured, quite tannic example.) 13%. Empty bottle weight: 417g.


Château Bouissel Fronton Le Beau Vin 2016, Fronton, France


£8.95, The Wine Society


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