Cinsaut Red Wine Variety

Cinsaut (or Cinsault) is a high yielding, workhorse red wine variety.  It is also known in Australia as Blue Imperial and Oeillade.

Synonyms of the grape variety CinsautCinsaut Synonyms

Other synonyms include Black malvoisie, Boudalès,  Bourdalès, Bourdelas, Calabre, Cinq-saou, Cinqsaut, Cinsaut, Cuvillier, Espagne, Espagnen, Espagnol, Gros de Lacaze, Gros marocain, Hermitage, Malaga, Malaga kék, Marocain, Marroquin, Marrouquin, Maurange, Mavro kara melki, Milhau, Milhaud du Pradel, Morterille, Morterille noire, Negru de Sarichioi, Ottavianello, Ottaviano, Pampous, Papadou, Passerille, Pétaïre, Picardan noir, Piquepoul d'Uzès, Plant d'Arles, Plant de Broqui, Poupe de crabe, Prunaley, Prunelas, Prunella, Prunellas, Prunellas noir, Salerne, Senso, Sinso, Ulliaou

How does a single grape variety get so many synonyms?  Well there are two factors in play here.  

First, the variety has been around for about four centuries.  

Secondly it is planted widely in traditional warm wine regions throughout Southern France, Spain, Italy, Morocco and Algeria, as well as in California, South Africa and Australia in the New World.  

Over time and space across language boundaries and generations the names gradually evolve.  Formal bureaucratic rules for nomenclature are fairly new.

In South Africa the variety was once the leading red variety.  In that country it was used as a parent in a crossing with Pinot Noir for breeding Pinotage.

Cinsaut is often used in blends with other Rhone varieties. It is a permitted but sparingly used variety in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Cinsault red wine varietyBy Marianne Casamance (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

What they Say about Cinsaut

Here are two differing opinions...

Opinions about the wine grape variety Cinsaut

This variety, according to Robin Bradley in his Australian Wine Pocketbook of 1978, is

"used, mostly in South Australia, to lend mediocrity to otherwise good wine"

Jancis Robinson in Wine Grapes offers a more positive assessment 

Underrated Mediterranean-loving variety making characterful rose and flirtatious reds

Cinsaut in Australia

Despite this bad press, this variety is still commonly used as blending material, probably in more wines than mention the fact on their labels, but there are a couple of exceptions.

I have long been a fan of Morris Wines Cinsaut, sold for many years as Blue Imperial, but now bearing is more correct name.

Foggo Wines in McLaren Vale have had success with a Grenache Shiraz Cinsaut.

D'Arenberg's Cenosilicophobic Cat is a blend of Sagrantino with about 9% Cinsaut.

The Cinsaut grape variety makes quite good rose either on its own or as a component of blends .

  • Arlo Vintners Rutherglen
  • Bondar Wines McLaren Vale
  • Brash Higgins McLaren Vale
  • Bullers Calliope Rutherglen
  • Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen
  • Charles Melton Barossa Valley
  • Claymore Clare Valley
  • Clonakilla Canberra
  • Cradle of Hills McLaren Vale
  • D'Arenberg McLaren Vale
  • Dune McLaren Vale
  • Foggo Wines McLaren Vale
  • Happs Margaret River
  • Kabminye Wines Barossa Valley
  • Lake Moodemere Rutherglen
  • Magpie Estate Barossa Valley
  • Massena Wines Barossa Valley
  • Mazi Wines McLaren Vale
  • Morris Rutherglen
  • Mount Mary Yarra Valley
  • Murray Street Vineyard Barossa Valley
  • Quarry Hill Wines Canberra
  • Ruggabellus Barossa Valley
  • Samson Tall McLaren Vale
  • Shadowfax Vineyard and Winery Geelong
  • Shobbrook Wines Barossa Valley
  • Smallfry Wines Barossa Valley
  • Somos McLaren Vale
  • Yangarra Estate McLaren Vale
  • Yelland and Papps Barossa Valley
Last updated 15 May 2024

See the full list of varieties described on this site

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