Let’s put it right first … It’s not “Cin-salt”, but rather “San-soh”. Now that we have this, we can discuss this ancient vine variety, which seems to have been first grown near the southern French coast around Montpellier. Its Mediterranean heritage was spread by millennia of wine-loving seafarers from Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France, through the Mediterranean waters to Algeria and Morocco, then east to Lebanon. To say that this is a Mediterranean variety that loves the sun would be underestimated.
“For me, Cinsault is very similar to Grenache,” says Rand Butaud owner and winemaker Randy Hester. In Texas, it turns out much better if we rely on its pretty varietal character, show off its delicate fruit profile and embrace its delicate and spicy experience. ”
Cinsault often shows bright red fruits such as cherry, strawberry and currant, complemented by yin-yang black pepper and violets. It is at home just like ordinary soup in the Provencal sun, as well as accompanied by medium-red meats such as pork or one of my favorite seafood dishes, Cioppino (Italian-American fish stew). In fact, during the holidays, I made breaded pork chops and Cioppino for New Year’s Eve dinner and had the opportunity to taste the recently released CL Butaud 2020, a 100% Texas Cinsault from grapes harvested at Phillips Vineyard in the Texas High Plains AVA.
Randy continues: “In Texas, we often work with young vines. Each year, as this vine approaches full maturity, we see more of the depth of flavors and aromas on display, as we see in other parts of the world, where the vines may be 20-100 years or older and have fully developed crowns and root systems. “
Based on my taste, I will say that Randy’s 2020 Cinsault is an interesting, medium-bodied infusion with pleasant tannins definitely in a comfortable range, which makes this wine incredibly friendly to eat, as I experienced during the holidays. This wine is endowed with a healthy filling of black raspberry essence, which is carried with mineral and floral aromas, finished with slightly earthy tones. The “long game” of this wine is its fresh fruitiness, which continues even after the glass returns to the table, allowing time to mix with another bite of food. While Randy’s Cinsault worked well with my pork dish at Christmas, it turned out even more beautifully next to my hearty, fish and tomato Cioppin, which I placed heavily on onion, garlic and shallots.
“I am very pleased with the outcome of this Cinsault,” adds Randy. “My Grenache and Cinsault are similar, made in exactly the same way – old school, Rhone style. Cinsault has dark berries and tea, while Grenache tends to be red berries and spices, and I know we can do both really well here in Texas. I look forward to working with more ripe fruit in the coming years. “
CL Butaud 2020 Cinsault, Phillips Vineyards is available at the Austin-based winery (click here) and on its website (click here) for $ 36 and can be found at one of the following retail or restaurant establishments (click here) that offer CL Butaud wines.