Cinsault to have a break-through in South Africa?

We have always been fond of the southern French grape Cinsault. It has never belonged to the prestigious grapes and it has led quite an anonymous existence. It has either been used for rosé wines or brought elegance to Languedoc blends of Grenache and Syrah.  A few producers have however shown us how good Cinsault can be as a single variety. Patricia Boyer-Domergue at Clos Centeilles in Minervois was a Cinsault pioneer in the 1990s.

Now the grape is getting attention in South Africa. We have tried some very good Cinsault-based wines in Swartland and other regions of South Africa. Cinsault (or Cinsaut as it is sometimes spelled) was once South Africa’s most planted black grape. As Chenin Blanc it was used a lot in brandy production.

It used to be called Hermitage, which explains the name they gave to the Pinotage, a South African cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Some producers are now so enthusiastic about the come-back of Cinsault that they think that it can become the country’s new signature grape, something of a “Malbec of South Africa” (with inspiration from Argentina).

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Come and check it out for yourself on a wine tour to South Africa with BKWine.

Swartland landscape in South Africa

Swartland landscape in South Africa, copyright BKWine Photography

Swartland landscape in South Africa

Swartland landscape in South Africa, copyright BKWine Photography

Signpost at AA Badenhorst Winery

Signpost at AA Badenhorst Winery, copyright BKWine Photography

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