Cinsaut is a dark-skinned grape variety traditionally used as a blending partner for Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre as part of the classic Southern Rhone blend. It is fairly unusual to see Cinsaut produced as a varietal wine, except as a rosé, in which it expresses itself as a light, aromatic and refreshing wine. Cinsaut vines have been grown for centuries in southern France, where it is one of the permitted minor grape varieties in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape blend.
In 1925 Cinsault was crossed with Pinot Noir to create what has become South Africa’s signature grape variety, Pinotage. Pinotage now overshadows Cinsaut in the vineyards of the Western Cape.
Cinsaut brings wines are generally low in tannin and generally used in blends for its perfume. It has much in common with Grenache and at one time was grown for its generous yields. Light red berries are the most commonly associated flavour descriptors.