Posted by: tomciocco | January 6, 2013

ARE YOU READY FOR YOUR CLOSE-UP, MADEMOISELLE CINSAULT?

The vineyards on and near the Mediterranean coast of France, all the way from the Italian border in the east to the Spanish in the west, are bursting with a mixed punch of grape varieties, both white and red. There are single-grape-variety wine regions, and there are those where blends are the norm, and the wine-making traditions on the French Mediterranean coast sit firmly in the latter camp.

Over the last century though, the foundational grape vines of great blended wines like red Chateauneuf -du-Pape – varieties like Grenache, and Syrah, and even Mourvedre – have begun to be vinified and bottled unblended, and to be fair, all of these varieties have traditions of being handled in that way in neighboring regions, as well as other appellations around the word. But there are always those varieties that nearly always appear in the supporting cast, butt rarely are billed as the star, and almost never appear in anything like a one-woman show, this evening’s wine made from 100% Cinsault however is just such a solo spotlight for this usually ancillary grape.

Normally appearing at between 5%-15% of the typical Chateauneuf-du-Pape blend for example (though this wine is from further west in Languedoc), Cinsault is used therein to leaven and soften the more exuberant, tannic, and brooding varieties mentioned above, but when vinified alone, it yields a feminine and fragrant, lighter ruby-colored wine with affable red fruit and a delicate spiciness that can still make a wine with good whack of alcohol…This particular one makes this critic want to see Mademoiselle Cinsault in other such solo vehicles in the future…

After checking all of the angles on what expected this wine to be, I came up with a menu of an appetizer of toasts spread with a chick pea, fennel seed, rosemary, garlic, etc. puree`, and then a main course of oven-braised Daube of pork with tomatoes, bacon, mushrooms, wine, herbes de Provence, etc. with buttered egg noodles.

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L’Argentier Vieilles Vignes de Cinsault Vine de Pays d’Herault 2009

Slightly cloudy and browned translucent ruby color. Bright and friendly nose of mixed red fruits, dried red flowers, mocha, roasted nuts, pines needles, and a touch of green pepper. The medium-weight palate is smooth and generous but still lean with an earthy, angular acid/tannin structure that supports clean and direct flavors of strawberry, red cherry, cinnamon, minerals, and fresh blood. Savory, bittersweet black licorice finish. 

 

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