Cinsault is originally from Southern France, and more specifically from the region between Avignon, Aix and Marseille. It is one of the minor grapes found in Rhône blends and Provençal rosés; Cinsault delivers fresh, punchy reds that are just as floral as they are fruity.
Cinsault has been used widely as a blending partner. When blended with Grenache, the strength of Cinsault’s alcohol is tempered. When blended with Carignan, its bitterness is attenuated. However, by limiting Cinsault’s yield, wine growers obtain wonderful varietal wines of great personality that are rich, full-bodied and lush. Behind its brilliant, rose-petal colour lie fruity notes; it is most seductive when young and lively and full-bodied on the palate.
A lot of Cinsaut is grown in South Africa because it holds a special place in the country's viticulture alongside Pinot noir as one of the parents of Pinotage. Much of it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon. Historically, in South Africa, it was favoured for its heat tolerance and productivity to be used in bulk blends but winemakers nowadays have been experimenting with the grape.
What I had this evening was Roodekrantz Old Vine Cinsault 2017. Planted in 1954 on dry land bush vine on deep decomposed Malmesbury shale. Matured for 10 months in old barrels. The wine has a clear strawberry hue and very perfumed, fresh wild raspberry and light rose petal and smoky aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with light, slightly chalky tannins, displaying a slightly reserved personality and a touch of sour cherry towards the finish.
Cinsault as a wine and food pairing is often used with sea snails in garlic, better known as Escargot. Because of the spicy, fruity, and somewhat smoky character of Cinsault, you will also enjoy it with stew or boeuf bourguignon. This evening, I paired it with my homemade lumache with beef and beans. What a perfect match!!