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Cinsaut grapes

by | Oct 31, 2016

Cinsault or Cinsaut is a grape which produces red wine, whose productivity and heat tolerance makes it essential in the earlier French colonies of Morocco and Algeria and Languedoc-Roussilon.

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Origin and History of Cinsaut Grape

Cinsaut seems to be an old variety which might have started off from the Herault, but equally could have been carried by the eastern Mediterranean traders.

In South Africa, the grape was initially called “Hermitage”. In 1925, Pinot Noir was interbred with Cinsaut to produce Pinotage, which is a signature grape of South Africa. Pinotage now takes the limelight in the Western Cape’s vineyards instead of Cinsaut.

Cinsaut was the most extensively cultivated red wine in South Africa before it was outdone by Cabernet Sauvignon during the end of the 20th century.

In 1860s, it was first traded in California, and known as “Black Malvoise”, and was named Claret when combined with Zinfandel.

Regions Where Cinsaut Grape is Grown

The vines of Cinsaut have been cultivated in the Southern France for centuries, where it is among the allowed varieties of minor grapes in the blend of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Cinsault is the primary frappe variety in Morocco concerning the production levels. Generally it is combined with grapes like Carignan and Grenache to add bouquet and softness.

It is equally important in Tunisia, Lebanon and Algeria as the grape is extremely tolerant of dry, hot climates, which is the reason of its great success in the Middle East and North Africa.

This grape is prone to decay in damp circumstances. It is among the most commonly planted grape varieties in the Languedoc and Bandol (Southern France), Morocco, Algeria and a major variety in Lebanon, Tunisia, South Africa and Corsica.

It is also scattered around Eastern Europe and Italy. The plantings of North Africa are primarily important when their grape wine was transported across the Mediterranean for the purpose of blending. Australia also has some plantings of Cinsault; however, it has not achieved popularity yet.

Synonyms of Cinsaut Grape

Synonyms of this grape includes Oeillade, Boudales, Calibre, Budales, Marocain, Cuviller, Senso, Papadou, Cinqsaut, Ottavianello, Blue Imperial, Samso, Black Prince, Cinsault, Black Malvoisie and Cinq-saou.

Characteristics of Cinsaut Grape

This typical grape is hearty, feminine, and posh and produces some good varietal wine. This is a dark-skinned variety of grape traditionally blended with Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache as a component of the typical Southern Rhone blend.

It is completely abnormal to see Cinsaut made as a varietal wine, apart from as a rose, where it shows itself as an aromatic, refreshing and light wine. The main notes experienced are raspberry, peach and strawberry.

Vine and Viticulture

The grape vine can yield heavy crops, however wines are enhanced if the yields are managed properly.
Cinsaut grape is extremely drought resistant; anyhow, it is susceptible to other diseases, thus a dry climate is favorable for it.
It produces black grapes which are in big cylindrical bunches with moderately thick skins.

A photo posted by Sylvestre Mosse (@sylmosse) on

Cinsaut is among those “grower” brands which simply produces a good crop yield of 6-10 tonnes/acre. It gives little sensory appeal and slight flavor distinction.

It may produce very delicious wines with soft tannins and penetrating aroma if properly controlled to a crop level of just 2-4 tons/acre. The tight bunches decay easily, so dry climate is favorable for it.

Cinsaut is well-adapted to machine harvesting because of its cluster stems which are easily removed from the vines. Cinsaut is appealing as eating grapes because of its thin-skinned, large, fleshy, black berries.

Characteristics of Cinsaut Grape Wine

Cinsaut wines usually have low levels of tannin and are generally utilized in blends because of its fragrance. It has so much resemblance with Grenache and at a particular time was cultivated for its good amount of yields.

The most commonly related taste descriptors are the light red berries. Wine produced from this grape can be very scented with vaporous cologne that lingers and supple consistency that pacifies the palate. The cinsaut wines are quite fruitful, lightly tinted, strongly scented, and of normal body weight.

Food Pairings with Cinsaut Grape Wine

This grape wine is perfectly paired with food items such as grilled vegetables, creamy Thai curry, spices, fried dough, pizza and fresh red fruits.


Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

I have been online since it all began, with blogging and creating websites. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one of my passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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