From a taste and flavor perspective this is a wine that delivers a bit of a unique profile but lots of quality for the adventurous; from a wine geek/historical perspective it's one of the most interesting wines we've had in the store. The Cinsault grape is known as a workhorse grape in both the southern part of France and, in the past, South Africa as well, where it was commonly known as "Hermitage'. With the consumer popularity of other grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot taking the lead, this style of wine largely disappeared from the market. But the trends always seem to swing back and forth, and the popularity of lower alcohol and less extracted wines are beginning to come back in vogue. If you try to make Cinsault a featured grape and vinify it the same way one would a Syrah or Grenache (going for richness and intensity), the wines can be underwhelming, with the natural earthiness coming out as hard edged. It actually works better with a softer wine in mind; think 'Hearty Beaujolais', with an emphasis on getting the flavors and textures in harmony.
Pale ruby in the glass the vibrant natural red fruits pop quickly from the glass, full of dusty cherry and cranberry tones, no jammy or sweet character at all just pure 'off the vine' flavors. On the palate the initial weight and fruit is bigger than a Beaujolais, but the texture is where there is lots of comparison with the super fine tannins and tart lip smacking acidity that presses through on the finish. There is also a lingering cranberry and gamy/salty savoriness that just screams for food to be put in your mouth and join in. Like Beaujolais it's a great partner for cured meats, but also has the stuffing to push up towards something like a seasoned pork loin or peppery meats.
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We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!