(Cinsault pronunciation: SAN-soh)
Cinsault, also written as Cinsaut, is a large, dark, thick-skinned grape, commonly used as a blending grape in various wines. Known for its early ripening and large yield, Cinsault grapes are heavily managed to produce only about a third of the yield per acre it is capable of. This is done to assure the grapes keep the greatest possible flavor. Due to Cinsault’s ability to withstand droughts and thrive in dry climates with extremely hot temperatures, it is mainly grown in the southern Rhône Valley in France, and parts of North Africa, South Africa, and the Middle East. The Cinsault cluster’s ability to easily break from the vine makes it one of the easiest varieties to machine harvest. Although Cinsault has a great list of strong features, its total acreage in vineyards is declining worldwide.
Cinsault wine is known for its red flavors of raspberry, strawberry, and cherry with subtle hints of dried fruits. The grape has naturally low tannin and acidity levels and is best known for the strong perfume-like aroma it adds to many wines. For blending, Cinsault pairs well with Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Cinsault is also especially fitting for Rosés and early drinking reds. As a blend or fill, the overall flavor of the wine varies significantly based on the other grapes incorporated and the processing methods used.
The best foods to enjoy with Cinsault are smoked salmon fillets, braised meats, and grilled vegetables, although in France, Cinsault red wine is traditionally paired with escargot. The wine is best consumed while still young.
This fantastic and up-and-coming grape varietal has been featured in our Gold Wine Club as well as in a number of Red Blends that have made their debut in a number of our other 6 wine of the month clubs. Cheers!