From the most widely planted variety in the Cape, to the variety that had fallen out of favour and become completely overlooked — Cinsaut has seen its fair share of changing consumer preferences.
As Jamie Goode has noted, Cinsaut has seen a dramatic change in its fortune, becoming ‘super trendy’ in a very short space of time. Goode credits this sudden change in fate to two particular factors: Firstly, that lighter-style reds are back in fashion; and secondly, that producers have found courage after Eben Sadie’s brave revival of the all but forgotten variety, and they are now giving Cinsaut the chance to shine.
Here starts the debate… Now that the variety is back on the map, what is to be done with it? ‘Is Cinsaut best for making lighter varietal reds, or is it best in a blend?’ asks Jamie Goode.
Chris and Andrea Mullineux are on the side of those who explore Cinsaut as a blending component, saying that, ‘5% or 10% in a serious wine adds an extra element.’ Peter-Allan Finlayson of Crystallum agrees, saying that when added to Cabernet Sauvignon, it becomes age-worthy and adds a spicy, aromatic element to a blend.
Whereas, on the other side of the fence, many producers are willing to tout the grape in varietal Cinsauts. Examples include Naudé Old Vines Cinsaut, Waterkloof Seriously Cool Cinsaut, Radford Dale Thirst Cinsaut and The Blacksmith Barebones Cinsaut.
Then there’s Chris and Suzaan Alheit, who are open to both sides of Cinsaut. They use it as a blending component, in their Flotsam & Jetsam Days of Yore Cabernet and Cinsault blend, as well as varietally, with their Flotsam & Jetsam Cinsaut.
Whatever side of this divide you may be sitting, there is a wine out there for you and, as Goode reveals, ‘the future is looking very bright for this important but under-appreciated variety.’