We tasted: De Martino Old Vines Cinsault, Itata, £11.99
Emma says: “I’ve been looking forward to this week because I knew exactly which wine I wanted us to taste. It is actually quite rate to find a 100% Cinsault wine but I have fortunately found my ultimate one when visiting a favourite Chilean producer De Martino three years ago.
This is a family business that has been making wine for generations but the younger clan headed up by Sebastian and winemaker brother Marco are now championing a return to old traditions. Sebastian is mad about buying up long forgotten plots of vines in overlooked regions like Itata and Maule where the vines are hundreds of years old. He took me on a memorable visit in tropical downpours where we drank this wine standing under a tin roof shivering. I remember thinking if the wine tasted that good in those conditions it had to be great. So let’s see if Andy agrees.
Given it’s still pretty warm in London right now we decided to chill our wine, which I also thought was fitting because it is quite a light bodied red which really suits being chilled. To the first smell it had that gorgeous scented dark cherry character with a hit of farmyard and smoky pencil lead, giving it a classic European charm. If I was tasting it blended I don’t think I’d ever think of Chile, but Itata is quite cold and wet which is why these wines can have a more restrained style. To taste it was just so light and elegant it sort of danced on the tongue, the tannin texture being really delicate. The fruit is slightly cassis but also with a mellow cherry flavour and a mild herbal freshness. The acidity feels nicely lifted but not sharp. To sum it up it really is a pretty wine.
Onto potential food matches, I would say this is a great red to go with food where a heavy red would dominate. The light tannins mean it would work really nicely with fish like salmon and could also work with curries. I think it would also be one to substitute for dishes that I would normally match with Pinot Noir, like mushrooms, game birds or white meats.”
Andy says: “My first sniff of this made me think of vinegar, which is never a good thing. But, the wine was fresh out of the fridge, and maybe it was a trick of the temperature as it soon blew off.
I also got a bit of leather sofa, which is a bona fide wine tasting thing to say. The first tasting was also disappointing, very thin, very light, not much to talk about at all. Downhearted, I logged in and started building this page, finding and cropping the images etc.
Some ten minutes had passed and the second taste was much different. It was full of character and full of black fruit flavours, blackberry, blackcurrant etc, even a bit Ribena-y. Lesson learned, don’t over chill your reds. This is a lovely summer drinking red.”
Cinsault is a red grape from France, it was often used in blends to bulk out a wine because it is high yielding. We are going to seek out a 100% Cinsault from old vines, typical countries that do this are France, South Africa or Chile. These are quite rare so we’d recommend buying any one you can find.