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€9.20 €7.60One of the great domaines of the Rhone making authentic and full-bodied, bio wines. Like the famous Château La Nerthe, the estate is managed by Alain Dugas and is magnificently situated in Sérignan, in the north of Orange. It is predominantly planted with Grenache with smaller quantities of Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Carignan vines which are on average 40 years old. This vintage has already amassed a slew of medals and awards and is noted for its intense, complex nose which has toasty aromas, sweet spice and concentrated red fruit. The palate is very harmonious, round, fresh and velvety-smooth. Ready to drink now. A perfect match for game.
- Côtes du Rhône Villages0.75l RedNewBio€13.10 €10.83Les Cassagnes de La Nerthe Rouge 2015 (bio) 60% Grenache Noir, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre grapes are used in this exciting, organic Côtes du Rhône which replaces the former Domaine Renjarde wine. Made by the same, ambitious winemakers, the Cassagnes comes from a forty year old vineyard planted on limestone and sandstone. The wine is aged in large oak vats to keep the primary freshness of the fruit: plums, blackberries, bing cherries and sloes are the aromas that are conjured up here without being jammy or too sweet. On the palate the purity of the fruit is evident with some spicy notes of freshly crushed black pepper, cloves and lingering notes of liquorice and lavender on the finish. A lovely wine, perfectly balanced between richness and freshness and full of spicy Rhône flavours. Very easy to drink now this wine will âge well for 5-10 years and matches well with game dishes, stews, roast meats and barbecues.
- 2013 Château La NertheChâteauneuf-du-Pape0.75l Red€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.
- 2015 Château La NertheChâteauneuf-du-Pape0.75l Red€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.