Cinsault has been rather underrated as a grape variety since it is mainly used as a grape for rosé wine. Probably originating in the Languedoc-Roussillon, it is most famous for being one of the two parents (the other is Pinot Noir) of Pinotage. Quite a delicate grape, the wines are soft, fruity and aromatic and can be surprisingly long lived. It is one of the grapes permitted in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape blend and is widely planted in the Languedoc and Provence.
Until the 1990s, it was also the most widely planted grape variety in South Africa (where is was mistakenly called Hermitage) and old vine Cinsault can be found in some excellent wines in Swartland.
- Côtes du Rhône Villages0.75l RedBio€13.10 €10.83Made from the classic GSM blend (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre), this wine opens with a very beautiful nose of ripe berry fruit, spice and tobacco underpinned with a lovely floral element of almond and peach blossom. On the palate the wine is generous, fresh and well-balanced with notes of plums, stones and wild herbs. There is a lively, fruity finish to this well-made wine from an excellent vintage.
- Côtes du Rhône Villages0.75l RedBio€13.20 €10.91This youthful fresh wine is very expressive and approchable, with aromas over 60 ye of roses, peach, honeysuckle and wild flowers. It has excellent fruit flavours and is beautifully balanced and soft without losing any of its aromatic complexity. The wine comes from old Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre vines grown in deep limestone soils from a vineyard in Serignan-du-Comtat, north of Orange and Avignon. The wine is fermented and aged in concrete and stainless steel vats. Lovely to drink now with great freshness and silkiness, this is an easy drinking wine with lots of spicy, fruity flavours to serve with grilled meats, pizza and Asian dishes.
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape0.75l RedBio€31.75 €26.24A tiny vintage in terms of quantity but of very great quality with perfect ripeness and great balance. Made from a blend of Grenache 43 %, Syrah 30 %, Mourvèdre 22 % et Cinsault 5 %, the different grape varieties are blended together immediately in the fermentation vats. The winemaking begins with a pre-fermentation maceration and then the fermentation begins thanks to the indigenous yeasts present on the grape skins. The wines are aged in French oak for 12 months, half in barrels, half in large casks. The wine has a dark garnet red colour, nose of black cherry, strawberry, red and black berries with notes of more complex aromas such as cedar and sandalwood. The taste is suave with tannins which are still young but velvety and fresh. Well-balanced on the palate with an abiding liveliness often found in great organic wines such as this. This vintage can already be appreciated when young with its palette of red fruits, spice and freshness. There is also an abiding elegance and concentration here which will allow the wine to show well for the next five to ten years.
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape0.75l RedBio€34.49 €28.50Regarded as being one of the more modern styled Châteauneufs owing to its fruity expression and purity, La Nerthe sits on 90 hectares of fabulous limestone soil interspersed with large « galet » pebbles. A great year for this domaine, the 2015 is very dark and rich with an intense ruby red colour. On the nose there are intense Syrah aromas of ripe blackberries, freshly ground black pepper, Asian spices. On the palate the wine has beautiful poise and precision, remains fresh as well as rich and opens up on the finish to reveal fruit, herbs and balsamic flavours. This will develop beautifully over the next 10 years, although I suspect that most will not be able to wait that long to enjoy this delicious wine.