Posted by: wineatlunch | July 7, 2010

Serious about Cinsault!

Cinsault is a red wine grape. It may be blended with grapes such as grenache and carignane to add softness and bouquet. Cinsault appears to be an ancient variety that may have originated in the Hérault, but could equally have been brought by traders from the eastern Mediterranean. Cinsault is very drought resistant but can be susceptible to disease, so appreciates a dry climate. It produces large cylindrical bunches of black grapes with fairly thick skins.

Cinsault is the fourth most widely-planted grape variety in France, and is especially important in Languedoc-Roussillon.  A lot of cinsault is grown in South Africa under the name hermitage, much of which is blended with cabernet sauvignon. It holds a special place in the country’s viticulture as one of the parents of pinotage. In Italy, it is known as ottavianello. There is one tiny DOC devoted to cinsault – Ostuni Ottavianello, with a total production of less than 1000 cases. Some cinsault is planted in California as black malvoisie. In Australia, cinsault is grown under a variety of names such as black prince, blue imperial, oeillade and ulliade.

All Star!Cinsault is also found in rosés. How many grapes does it take to make rosé wine!? Think about it while sipping some refreshing rosé in the sun this weekend!

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