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Cinsaut – Light Red Wine with Spicy Fruit

The Cinsaut grape (sometimes also spelled Cinsaut) stands for light red wine which gives off an intense scent of spices and is very fruity especially in its early years. An excellent rosé can be produced from Cinsaut grapes, especially because it has a strong fruity character. Wine growers like using it in cuvees; it gives a red cuvee a distinctive scent and makes for the required aromas. Cinsaut is well prepared for dry climates, as the fruits are relatively small and need little moisture. That is why the grapes can also thrive in intense heat and much sun. Overall, the plant is robust, yet prone to mildew.

Cinsaut Between High Aspirations and Mass Wine

Depending on the winemaker, Cinsaut can deliver a moderate or a real premium wine. Generally, the grape tends to only produce little yields, but clever cultivation methods have made it a popular supplier for mass wine. This is why the grape does not have a high ranking amongst some wine experts, despite its quality potential. Unjustly, as a wine from Cinsaut, or Cinsaut, can be a high class product. This is all down to the winemaker - the more he goes for high yields, the weaker the wine tastes. A yield of ten tons per hectare is very likely to be a mass wine than one of excellent quality. Two to four tons have been proved to be the best ratio between yield and quality.

Cinsaut in South Africa

Cinsaut originates from the south of France, where wine growers have planted them until today. The grape is also popular amongst winemakers on Corsica, it is even the most widely spread variety there. For a long time, Cinsaut has been one of the leading grape varieties in South Africa. In the middle of the 19th century until the end of the 20th century, it has been more important than Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Cinsaut is important for South Africa also because, if crossed with Pinot Noir, it results in Pinotage, South Africa’s national grape. Pinotage combines the features of both parents. It has the taste of sweet berries from Pinot Noir, whilst Cinsaut passed on the fruitiness. This is why Cinsaut has a great share of the local winemakers’ identity in two ways. On the one hand, it is a central element of the country’s wine history. On the other hand, the grape is involved in the future of South African wine in the form of Pinotage and participates to it.

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