Cinsaut or Cinsault is a red wine grape, whose heat tolerance and productivity make it important in Languedoc-Roussillon and the former French colonies of Algeria, Lebanon, and Morocco. Probably originating from Provence, it is in Languedoc and in the Rhone Valley that he settled permanently. It is often blended with grapes such as Grenache and Carignan to add softness and bouquet.
It has many synonyms, of which perhaps the most confusing is its sale as a table grape called ‘Oeillade’, although it is different from the “true” Oeillade which is no longer cultivated. In South Africa, it was known as “Hermitage”, hence the name of its most famous cross Pinotage.
Cinsaut is widely planted in southern France and is especially important in Languedoc-Roussillon. It is also widely used for rosé wines in Provence.
In Italy, it’snown as Ottavianello, there is one tiny DOC devoted to Cinsaut – Ostuni Ottavianello, with a total production of less than 1000 cases a year.[However, Cinsaut has long been used in Apulian blends and has also begun to attract the attention of winemakers interested in reviving old varieties.
A lot of Cinsaut is grown in South Africa, much of which is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon. It holds a special place in the country’s viticulture alongside Pinot noir as one of the parents of Pinotage. Of all the grape varieties planted in the Cape, Cinsault has claimed a significant “Cinderella” turnaround in recent history. Historically, it was favored for its heat tolerance and productivity to be used in bulk blends but winemakers of late have been experimenting with the grape. Many new labels can be found on the market offering crunchy red berry flavors at low alcohols, it is still a very useful blending component with other Rhone varietals, while also adding some fruity brightness to Cabernet Sauvignon.
In the United States, the oldest continuous Cinsaut vineyard is said to be the Bechtold vineyard in Lodi, California, which was planted in 1885 by Joseph Spenker.
Some Cinsaut is planted in California as Black Malvoisie.
Cinsaut is planted in the North Coast AVA in California, most specifically in the Red Hills Lake County AVA.
Cinsaut is planted in the Yakima Valley AVA in Washington.
Cinsaut is planted in Texas, specifically in the Texas High Plains A.V.A.
The vine can produce heavy crops, but wines are much better if yields are controlled. Cinsaut 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 produced in France charms with a fruity and smooth aromatic register. Its aromas are raspberry, currant, pomegranate, strawberry and peony. It is also the essence of fine and fruity summer rosés!
Production area in 2018: 18 200 ha (44 973 acres)