Wines that Rock - Cinsault, Why are we not drinking all of this yet?
So many times we write about grapes that fly under the radar. These are grapes that go unappreciated for one reason or another, but mostly because the general convention is that these grapes are there to serve a purpose rather than be the main attraction to a wine. That is to say, these grapes are the backup singers in the wine blend. The great thing about the wine world these days, is that there are people out there willing to give these grapes a chance. There are people in the wine world who want to give these wines a chance to shine, they looked at conventional wisdom and said "I think you're wrong." Cinsault is the perfect example of a wine going under the radar, and yet is a wine that should be on everybody's lips.
So where to begin with Cinsault? It is a varietal known to many who love Chateauneuf du Pape as one of their 13 permitted grapes, and yet it still goes under the radar. Its used to give more meat to Syrah and other Rhone style blends around the world. Still it goes unappreciated. It gets used in cheap wines because of its high yield. Oh, thats why it goes unappreciated.
Goddamit! Here we go again. Its hard to shake off negative perceptions when you get called cheap, but Cinsault does a damn good job of showing what it as to offer. You will have to look hard, but you can find single varietal Cinsault out there in the world. California is a good place to start, as winemakers look to stand out from the crowds of Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. South Africa is another, where a greater attention to the grape is turning out fucking phenomenal wines from places though to only make shit wine. Yeh Cinsault is basically lifting regions out of the shit, its that good!
So why is Cinsault so good? Why should you keeping your eyes open for Cinsault? Because Cinsault is a wine for people who like nice things and appreciate the beauty in simplicity. For years Cinsault was poo pooed because it was not complex enough. Fuck that! In Cinsault you get a solid, meaty wine that is maybe a little spicy, maybe a little herbaceous, but always super fruity and beautifully aromatic. Cinsault does not need to be complex, its comfortable in its own skin and god damn does that skin make for some gorgeous wine.
As our tastes change, and each of us starts to figure out what the hell it is we like in life, its easy to overlook things that are tossed aside by conventional wisdom. The truth is its not that hard to break out of that comfort zone if you just remember that conventional wisdom is more about convention and less about wisdom. When we refuse to do the same things over and over again we stumble across beautiful wines that were right in front of us all along. Cinsault is like finding a rough diamond. Once you realize what it is, it changes your life. And its soooo fucking beautiful!