Tasted 5th November 2019
This has been a year of discovering cinsault for me – first in South Africa and then in Lebanon. I tend to like mid-weight red wines, and this is the style which cinsault makes. It’s overlooked in its home in the south of France, where its fruitiness make it a candidate for pink wine and as blending material to add some overt juicy fruit. The problem is that it overcrops easily, making dilute wines; thus it’s beloved of grape growers who have been paid by the volume they deliver but despised by those who seek to make or drink intense and flavourful wines.
However, a lot was planted around the world in the early or middle 20th century; these vines, so long overlooked, have now aged, yields reduced, and much more concentrated wines are resulting. They are worth looking out for. Often they are like a good cru Beaujolais but they also have a slightly leafy or even untamed (sauvage is the French word) character.
This had some gorgeous sweet cherry fruit, some floral hints – maybe violets – and a touch of that leafiness. Very fine tannins and a touch of that sauvage character when you drink it; a bit like undergrowth with a savoury aroma. Great length and a lovely wine.