A grape of many names, Cinsault is known by different monikers based on where it’s grown. Amongst its synonyms, Cinsault is known as Samsó, or Sinsó, in Spain, and Hermitage in South Africa. Often used in blends, Cinsault’s main blending partners are Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre, while small amounts can be found in Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines. Cinsault also produces single varietal roses, which tend to have notes of strawberry, raspberry, dried herbs, and violet, with hints of black tea leaf. It’s fantastic alongside grilled veal, Indian curry, and escargot.
There used to be 120,000 acres dedicated to Cinsault, but with its decline in popularity in the 1970s, there’s now roughly 50,000 acres. Cinsault thrives in dry and extremely hot climates, which is why it can be found in Mediterranean countries like Morocco, where it is the most planted grape. In 1925, Cinsault was crossed with Pinot Noir to create Pinotage, which ended up overshadowing Cinsault in South Africa.
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Grape Photo Credit: Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Grapevine Breeding Geilweilerhof - 76833 Siebeldingen, GERMANY