Category Archives: Cinsault

Two 2015 Southern French Rosés

Le Charmel 2015 Cotes de Provence (near Bandol)
30% Syrah, 30% Cinsault, 20% Mourvèdre, 10% Grenache, 10% Rolle (Vermentino); 12.5% ABV
imported by Winesellers, Ltd., Niles, IL
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store some weeks ago.  No longer there.

Les Vignes de Bila-Haut 2015 Pays D’Oc IGP; 13% ABV
by Michel Chapoutier
imported by HB Wine Merchants, NY
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store

When I bought these, they were both new arrivals.  The Bila-Haut is still around, but Le Charmel is long gone, at least from Richmond.  They were both pretty tasty, but I preferred Le Charmel.

Le Charmel was engagingly aromatic of less ripe cantaloupe and mild white flowers.  There was more of this on the palate, with a slightly viscous minerality and a hints of lavender and red berries, and the acid nicely in balance.  The flavor was perhaps a little light for me at first, but after adjusting, I found it a very pleasant and elegant wine.  Interestingly, it contains 10% Rolle (Vermentino), a white grape.

The next day, I liked it better, with the fruit more forward while the wine still retained most of its minerality.  This is an easy Thumbs Up for me.

The Bila-Haut had less of a nose, but showed stronger fruit of strawberry, cherry, and red currant, less minerality, and attention-getting lip-smacking acid and a tang of bitterness.  I found this more flavorful, but less elegant and balanced.  Here is a Wine Enthusiast review of this wine.

The next day, I liked it better, as the wine had smoothed out and integrated, but was still quite tasty.  I’d go with Drinkable for this wine.

Of course, my favorite was a blend of about 1/4 – 1/3 Bila-Haut, the rest Le Charmel.  🙂

VQ 2012 Cuvée VIII red blend

25% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Tempranillo, 10% Carignane, 10% Petite Sirah
5% Cinsault, 5% Mourvèdre, 5% Counoise, 5% Graciano; 14% ABV
California
from Odisea Wine Company, Napa, CA
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 1 July

VQ_2012_CuveeVIIII was definitely intrigued by this complex sort-of Rhone-style blend, and the not-bad label.  When I looked at the blend, I thought, “Hey, it’s missing Zinfandel!”  It turns out that I think the easiest description of this wine is “Zinfandel,” although with kind of strong acid.

On the first night, the flavors were immediately interesting and quite complex, but the sharp acid overwhelmed the pleasure I found in it.  After 2 – 2.5 hours in a decanter, the acid had mellowed somewhat, and the flavors were still very nice: darker red and purple fruits, with earth, prune, slight herbs, and spice, quite assertively complex.  Still, I hoped the second half would be more mellow.

Indeed, the second half (stored in a 375ml screwcap bottle with very little air) was a bit better.  All the flavors were nicely integrated and tasty, and the acid had calmed down significantly.  However, the acid was still strong enough that I’d probably not get another bottle, even if I were not inclined to get something new to review.  It was fine enough with food, though.

Jardin des Charmes 2015 rosé

Coteaux de Béziers Indication Géographique Protégée, Languedoc, southern France
70% Cinsault, 30% Grenache; 12.5% ABV
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 29 June

JardinDesCharmes_2015_roseThis wine looked lovely and is from the current vintage, so I had to try it.  Compared to the also-current Chateau La Sauvageonne rosé, this wine is more austere and structured, but also delicious.

The wine shows flavors of medium-ripe pink grapefruit, a little tangerine / quince, less ripe white melon, hint of lavender / jasmine, with slight skin bitterness and minerality, and crisp acid.  Some red berries and yellow apple come out more as it warms.

None of my bottle survived until the next day, but I expect it would follow the usual pattern: fruit more forward and integrated, less minerality and complexity, still quite tasty.

Chateau La Sauvageonne 2014 rosé

50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 20% Syrah; rubber-sealed glass stopper; 13% ABV
Coteaux de Languedoc, France
from Gerard Bertrand
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 24 June

Bertrand_2014_ChLaSauvageonneRoseI immediately got a bottle of this wine, with its lovely presentation and southern French origin.  IMO, this is what rosé’s about.

Its delicate nose is equal parts cantaloupe, tangerine, pink peach.  It has delicate flavors of these on the palate, with some red cherry and tart redcurrant acid, slight lavender, and perhaps a little yellow apple.  Despite the delicate flavors, the mouthfeel is thicker, with a minerally character.  This is a little more expensive for a GO rosé, but IMO worth the price.  Still, I would guess from the slight aggressiveness to the acid that it’s not one to keep around, so drink up.

The notes from the link above are, “The bouquet offers up intense aromas of red fruit, blackcurrant and redcurrant as well as floral elements (violet and rose) and citrus notes (grapefruit). This wine has a delicate oaked dimension, developing into vanilla and gingerbread notes. Fresh, rich and unctuous on the palate.”  It didn’t occur to me, but I second the “vanilla and gingerbread notes”.

On the second day, the wine was at least as good, with the fruit more forward and integrated, showing a juicy pink grapefruit and yellow apple more prominently.  As it warmed, it was more sweet than on the first night.

Apparently from the label, the translation of “La Sauvageonne” is “wild woman,” but I’m guessing that “wild” means less “unhibited / crazy” and more “living in nature, outside civilization” in a Rousseau-esque sort of way.  (The left side of the label features an embossed naked woman with long hair and a horse.)

 

Château la Tour de L’Évéque 2011 Pétale de Rose

Côtes de Provence AOC, France; 13.5% ABV
composition of the 2014 was listed as: Cinsault 42%, Grenache 38%, Syrah 9%, Ugni-blanc 4%, Mourvèdre 3%, Sémillon 2%, Cabernet Sauvignon 1%, Rolle 1%
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store on 5 August.  Lots at Berkeley.

PetaleDeRoseWhen this wine arrived, I was struck by the beauty of the presentation, hence the whole-bottle photo.  However, on the first day, I had only a couple small pours of this wine, when it struck me as having fairly intense and quite tasty fruit of tangerine and pink grapefruit, but slightly too tart for me to find it pleasant.

However, the next day, the rest needed only a little more air in the glass to smooth out and become more complex and integrated.  In addition to the citrus flavors, the wine showed some orange roses and some ripe, yellow fruit, presumably from the white grapes.  While I enjoyed the smooth and flavorful taste, I found the richer yellow fruit a bit out of place in a southern French rosé.  In contrast to the Midsummer Cellars Rosé, where the Viognier blended in very nicely, I thought the yellow fruit made this wine less delicate, although I can see how some folks would prefer the way it is. Also, the initial acid level, which slightly returned now and then, made me think that it’s near the end of its life.   If you get some, you may want to put it in a covered decanter in the fridge for a few hours before serving, soon.

Les Cépages Oubliés 2011 Cinsault – Grenache Vielles Vignes

Cinsault 70%, Grenache 30%; 14% ABV
Pays D’Oc IGP, France
imported by Global Wine Co., San Rafael, CA
I originally wrote that this was $4 at the Oakland, CA, store on 7 July.  However, I saw it for $5 on 14 July at the Berkeley store, so it was probably $5 at Oakland, too.

CepagesOublies_2011_CinsaultGrenacheThis wine is right up my alley.  It’s like a medium-weight, traditional Côte-du-Rhône.  While it’s surprisingly tasty at first pour, I liked it better after an hour of air in a decanter, and it’s still very good after 2+ hours.  The wine shows tangy fruit flavors of black cherry, raspberry, lighter red cherries, red table grape, and maybe some orange / tangerine; and a spectrum of non-fruit flavors like kalamata olive, funky earth, maybe brown leather, and grape stem.  My only criticism is that the finish is perhaps a little rough; I guess I would call the wine “rustic.”  While it’s certainly not the most amazing wine, I like it a lot for the price.

When I first opened the bottle, I first completely filled a single-glass bottle and screwed on the cap.  The next day, this saved bottle is quite delicious at first pour, with the flavors more forward and integrated, but otherwise the same.

Les Chaberts 2012 rosé

50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 10% Cinsault; 13.5% ABV; screw cap
Appellation Ventoux Contrôlée, France
$4 at the Richmond, CA, store on 20 March

LesChaberts_2012_roseI got this because I thought the recent white and red Les Chaberts wines had been good and decent, respectively.  I was a little worried at how red its color was, that it might be more forwardly fruity than I like.  However, when I opened it, the opposite was true.  It seemed to have hardly any flavor at all.  I screwed the cap back on, put it back in the fridge, and tasted it again a few hours later.  The result was the same.

I tasted this again this evening, a couple days later.  While an edge of strawberry fruit was more forward, it still struck me that there was not much to this wine.  I suppose it’s Drinkable, but I would guess there are better options for rosés.

Les Chaberts 2012 red

50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Cinsault, 15% Carignan; 13.5% ABV
top of the label reads “Rhone Valley Vineyards”
Appellation Ventoux Contrôlée, France
$5 at the Oakland, CA, store on 16 March

LesChaberts_2012_Ventoux_redIt has been a while since we’ve had anything Cotes-du-Rhone-like show up at the GO, so I was excited to see this wine.  It’s a pleasantly tasty quaffer, distinctively French.

The wine is not bad right away, but I thought it needed nearly two hours in a decanter to relax and release its fruit.  Then, it showed tangy flavors of black and red cherries / kirsch, dark red raspberry, and (with more air) a little bit of violets and darker herbs, with the earthy funk that I like in French wines, in a lighter medium body.  It’s solid wine and a decent value, but I think it’s not all that substantial or super-exciting, so I should probably go with Drinkable.

Château Riotor 2012 rosé

Côtes de Provence, France; 13% ABV
the vineyard consists of 45% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 10% Syrah, 5% Rolle (Vermentino); actual annual blend varies slightly
$6 at the Oakland, CA, store on 13 Jan

IMG_1377When I saw this southern French rosé, with its delicate salmon color, I jumped on it.  It’s not quite what I was hoping it would be, but it’s excellent in a different way.

For a while, I had taken to airing such wines, in  a decanter in the fridge, for a while before drinking.  I considered doing so with this wine, but it turned out to be unnecessary.  It was quite good from first pour.  To my taste, the it was better considerably warmed from fridge temperature, when it showed ethereal flavors of cantaloupe, white jasmine, pink roses, and red and blue berries, nicely balanced with pink grapefruit acid.  It’s dry but not austere or very structured, with a slight fleshiness in the body.  I think my previous favorite southern French rosé was the LaRoche 2011 Rosé de la Chevalière.  It was more structured and delineated, but not as delicate and lovely as this wine.  Usually, I have tried to pair rosés with things like squid, anchovies, ham, or some combination thereof.  This wine probably needs less intense fare, such as lighter salmon or opah.  None of my bottle survived until the next day, but I will try to get back for more.

2009 Robert Hall Central Coast Rhone de Robles, CA $9.99

Bremerton, WA    13.9% alc.    (Purchased on 11/8/13)

IMG_1298Except for the vintage, the back label is identical to the 2008 R de R: Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Counoise.

Clear medium ruby color; tart pie cherry and raspberries in the nose.  On the palate it shows tart acidity, more raspberry and cherry in the flavors and it’s rather light, though slightly tannic in weight and texture.  The restrained oak shows mid-palate through the very short finish.  Overall this is a rather humdrum vintage that lacks the power and complexity of the wonderful 2008 Rhone de Robles.  Just seems rather flavorless in comparison.  So if you were thinking of trying a bottle of this Rhone-style blend…and there is still some of the 2008 in your local GO…my advice is to grab the 2008 instead.