Cinsault Wine Grapes
By Randy (Wine Specialist)
I’m on the lookout for reds that are a good fit as warm weather months come ‘round. Those wines that offer light to medium-bodied textures and show off fresh, red berry fruit when served with a slight chill.
Wines made from Cinsault grape variety.
Cinsault is cover girl/poster boy for most southern Rhone valley rosé.
Historically and geographically speaking, Midi region of Herault is widely believed to be CInsault’s place of origin and cultivation. Others contend the grape may have found its way across the border from Spain.
Widely considered a grape rarely vinified alone, is primarily in southern Rhone Valley blends of Languedoc and Roussillon, as well minor, though an important, component to southern Rhone kingpins Chateauneuf du Pape and Gigondas. Not to mention, Cinsault is cover girl/poster boy for most southern Rhone valley rosé.
Case in point. Cinsault partners with Grenache to give you Tavel, “Superbad” King of Rose’ in all of France.
Did you know? In France, there are more plantings of Cinsault than there are plantings Cabernet Sauvignon? Cinsault thrives in hot, raging mistral winds within Provence, nineteenth century colonial Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria.
Why? Well, French occupiers want their red wine, they want it “en ce moment”. All places with that hot, dry, basically zero humidity, climate this grape thrives upon. Cinsault still grows there to some extent, I’m sure.
Sidebar travel tip
These three countries are super cool to visit to understand the real world, real people. No language? I’ll bet French will fly, smiles go a long way as well. On the other end of the African continent, Cinsault vines were established in late nineteenth century South Africa where it became widely known as Hermitage. Cinsault was grafted to Pinot Noir in 1925 to create the variety first in mind to South African oenology- Pinotage.
Oh! And what is that mistral I mentioned? It’s no joke for one thing. It’s a uniquely strong and cold northwesterly wind moving from southern France into the Gulf of Lion in the northern Mediterranean. It produces sustained winds often exceeding 66km/h , sometimes reaching 185 km/h.
Cinsault is catching a rebound in its popularity in wine markets domestically and worldwide. More producers in France and throughout the world are starting to vinify wines of all Cinsault predominant Cinsault red blends.