Classic aromas of Cinsault are: Blackberry, Boysenberry, Black Plum and Licorice
Cinsault is an old red grape varietal from southern France. It was first mentioned as early as 1600 in a botany journal written by Olivier de Serres, yet it went by its old name: Marrouquin. It wasn’t until the late 19th century when it started to be called Cinsault.
Thought it comes from southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon and southern Rhone Valley regions, it has long been planted in Italy and South Africa. This is due to such high popularity of Cinsault in France that vignerons wanted to take it back to their homelands, or new wine regions. Cinsault’s popularity stems from its rich dark colour and tannic structure which allows for producing age-worthy wines.
France is the historic home to Cinsault with a massive 20,800ha of it planted across the southern France. Cinsault is often used in red blends where it is blended with Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre – these produce medium-full bodied wines that are known for their juicy texture. Not only juicy reds are made from Cinsault but also full bodied dry roses made from similar blends to the reds.
After France, South Africa is the most enthusiastic planters of Cinsault. In fact it once was the most planted red grape in the country. It has lost some ground to Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Pinotage, but still holds its place of importance. Here it makes both blends and single varietal wines – the best example, arguably, comes from AA Badenhorst.
Italy, California, Australia and Morocco also have small but significant plantings of Cinsault.
Cinsault produces wines that are rich in body and colour, with high but soft tannins. It gives off flavours of blackberries, black plums, licorice, cocoa and coffee beans. With age it can give off aromas of prunes and raisins as well as a rich vanilla pastry-like aroma.