Preston Cinsault Dry Creek Valley 2002

This is a fascinating wine. For people not familiar with Cinsault (and most aren’t, because it’s usually used as a blending grape), the mouthfeel is pretty much like a silky, not too smoky, Pinot Noir. Cinsault is primarily blended with Grenache in the Tavel region of the Rhone to make a beautiful, dusty-dry rose. It’s also one of the “13 cepages” that can go into Chateauneuf-du-Pape, one of my favorite wines. The South African Pinotage grape is a cross of Cinsault and Pinot Noir.

It’s a smooth and elegant wine. The nose is delicately spicy, and the flavor is pretty much middle of the palate; the foretaste and aftertaste are both present but subtle. The acidity is nicely balanced, which is important for a complex and delicate wine like this.

The flavors I get from it are prune, cinnamon, almonds, and white pepper. The tasting notes that came with it say “At once ethereal and flamboyant, Cinsault is cherry pie filling with suggestions of cola, cinnamon and sandalwood.”

The food pairing suggestion on the tasting notes pretty much sums up my thoughts: “middle palate foods (well integrated flavors, no provocative edges of heat, spice or salt)”. We have another bottle of it, and I’m thinking that given the season, a nice navarin d’agneau, with baby onions and carrots, and peas, will do the trick.

We’ve been members of the Preston Vineyards wine club for several years now, and this is the finest Cinsault single varietal bottling they’ve produced.