A native grape of the South of France, often overlooked because it is usually blended with other grapes. If you are a lover of Provence rose wines you have been drinking this grape for a while; its character gives the wine that perfumed fragrance and crisp red berry flavours. Alternatively, it can often be found as part of a blend in Languedoc Roussillon reds or even a small proportion in Chateauneuf de Pape; offering a softer counterpart to bigger tannic grapes like Carignan.
When produced as a single grape red wine it is typically light, fresh with red and black cherry fruit. A great red to lightly chill in the summer.
But some winemakers are now focusing more on this grape, often using old vines to produce wines with more concentration in that black fruit flavour and herbal notes. These wines can have great purity and an interesting expression that is quite unique. For these style seek out South Africa or Chile.
A grape that copes well with heat and drought. As a result is has travelled the world to distant regions like Lebanon, South Africa or Chile where it was taken and planted as a good fertile crop for these warm climate areas. Late budding, mid ripening with big bunches and berries. Pinotage is made from a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsault and therefore shares some of the grapes attributes.
Gamay, Corvina, Zweigelt, Cabernet Franc
France: Provence, Languedoc Roussillon, Rhone
South Africa: Paarl, Swartland
Lebanon: Bekaa Valley
Tandoori chicken, Korma or Marsala sauces, beef carpaccio, lamb kofte, smoky grilled peppers