WINES WITH CINSAULT
Cinsaut (or Cinsault) is most often used as a blending grape with other types. France has more Cinsaut planted (50,000 hectares) than Cabernet Sauvignon and there is as much Cinsaut acreage planted in its former backdoor wine colony of Algeria.
Cinsaut is one of those "grower" varieties that easily produces a very large crop of 6 to 10 tons per acre. At this crop level, it shows little flavor distinction. When properly managed to crop from just 2 to 4 tons per acre, it can produce quite flavorful wines of strong aroma and easy quaffability.
The tight bunches rot easily, so it does best in drier climes. The Cinsaut vine is fairly drought tolerant and has a fairly short growing season. With cluster stems that easily detatch from the vine, Cinsaut adapts well to machine harvesting.
It is one of the most often planted varieties in Southern France, Algeria and Morocco, and is a major red variety in South Africa, Corsica, and Lebanon. The North African plantings were particularly important when, as colonies of France, their wine was shipped across the Mediterranean for blending. The grape was originally known as "Hermitage" in South Africa (although French Hermitage has none in its blend). When a South African professor crossed the grape with Pinot Noir, he therefore named it Pinotage (now the Top Red there). There are also Cinsaut plantings in Australia, although it has yet to achieve popularity there.
Wine made from cinsaut grapes can have great perfume and supple texture. Fairly low in tannin, it is often made into rosé by itself or blended, to brighten the fruit and tone down the harsher edges of carignan, in particular. Although officially sanctioned in Châteauneuf du Pape, it is used by only a few producers in their blends.-winepros.org