Le Roc, Le Classique 2016

Deep garnet hue

Velvet texture, powerful yet smooth with gorgeous layers of black fruit and spice

Wonderfully heady, smokey, ripe, wild black fruit laced with floral notes

About the Producer


Domaine le Roc is situated between the Garonne and the Tarn at the heart of the Fronton AOC region. They produce wines with a strong character including “Negrette”, the grape variety that has become their emblem.  Their philosophy has remained unchanged for more than 30 years. They aim to work intelligently and with respect for living things. They don’t farm under an organic label , but the agriculture is responsible and environmentally friendly. They work respectfully and with sincerity, guided by ‘country’ common sense and the knowledge that the land does not belong to them.  Jean Luc Ribes, a self proclaimed “Bluesman” at night and viticulturist by day, is a real pioneer in the way he uses grass. All the vines have been under grass since 1981 and in the winter there are sheep grazing on the land.

Pictured left and right are Gregoire and Anne, the new generation of this family-owned estate who have now taken over the winemaking.

  • Grapes

    70% Negrette, 20% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Since the Middle Ages, Fronton, just north of Toulouse, has been the home of the Negrette grape variety, which is nearly exclusive to the area.


    Negrette vines are forced to struggle and dig deeper for nutrients to establish a stronger root system. This gives the grapes very distinct flavors and they are commonly characterized as having notes of violets and licorice.




  • Region


    Fronton, South West France

    The typical climate of the region is similar to that of Bordeaux: warm and dry in the summer, and mild and wet in the winter.

    White Boulbenes pebbles on the surface and soil composed of gravel and stone. 

    The region encompasses 2,300 hectares of vines dominated by dry heat and rocky soils and the landscape is marked by hills and valleys, ranging from 300 to 600 ft above sea level. The banks of the Tarn and Garonne rivers have particularly poor gravel soils.

  • Viticulture

    Farmed organically

    Jean-Luc, the eldest of the Ribes, left school to work on the family’s estate 25 years ago. Undaunted by his lack of experience, he broke the long-standing rule of letting grass grow in the vineyard, which during the wintertime is grazed by their sheep. Today he is considered a pioneer of enherbement or ‘grassing-over.’

    Their insistence on strictly controlled yields, while being careful not to over-extract the fruit, and high vine density planting produces wines that release a wonderful perfume.

  • Vinification

    • They produce wine in a traditional, almost old-fashioned way that raises the bar for Fronton wines and deserves recognition.

    • Grapes are crushed by their own weight only

    • Each variety is vinified separately in the traditional way for 3 weeks.

    • Placed in low capacity concrete vats which allows for better temperature control (25 to 28 °).

    • The wine is blended and ageing lasts for 12-18 months.

  • Wine Spec

    Vintage: 2016

    Alcohol: 13%

    Name of Producer:

    Domaine Le Roc

    Name of Wine:

    Le Roc Classique


    Fronton, South West France 




Chicken Shish Kebab

Wine & Food Matching Ideas

Grilled steak

Skewered meat & vegetables grilled on the BBQ

Bean Stew

Mature Cheddar


Recipe to try

Grilled sausages, herbed chickpea mash

by Nigel Slater

Originally published in The Guardian on 28 July 2019.

A classic local pairing with Négrette is grilled Toulouse sausage, but any thick pork sausage works. The local dish is normally served with cannellini beans, but I think this herby mashed chickpea version is a fun twist for the summer and picks up the smokey/savoury notes in the wine.


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