How many people have to say it? Cinsault is the way forward

“Sadly, they are pulling it up in South Africa too,” said Mark Savage MW, with whom I had lunch on Saturday in Beirut. He was referring to Cinsault, a grape that is ideally suited to Lebanon’s climate, but which for some reason – perhaps because it is perceived as either unfashionable or not robust enough – is not held in as high a regard as it should be by our wine producers. It is perceived as our ‘cheap’ grape and yet globally it is relatively rare. It is also proven, having thrived in our vineyards since 1857.

Savage’s is not a voice in the wilderness; Tim Atkin MW also sung the Cinsault’s praises when he visited in November of last year, agreeing with me when I said it was the grape that best expressed our terroir.

And here is something to think about: Lebanon does not have an indigenous red  so why don’t we, not only celebrate this luscious, supple and aromatic varietal, but adopt it as our national grape. Not only does it excel in Lebanon’s sun-baked Mediterranean climate, it can go some way to counter the global ennui created by Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and the like.

In the same way that the future of our white wines may depend to some extend on Lebanon pumping up the reputation of the Obeideh and the Merweh grapes, we need a red with which the consumer can identify and associate Lebanon. Food for thought.

A selection of Lebanese Cinsault red wines

Chateau Fakra: Cuvée du Temple

Château Kefraya: Les Bretèches

Château Ksara: Le Prieuré

Château Musar: Cuvée

Château Musar: Chateau 1999

Château St Thomas: Les Gourmets

Domaine Wardy: Les Terroirs

Fleuron by Heritage

Massaya: Classic

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    If i had a restaurant, Fleuron would be my house wine. It’s just so delicious. Great post.

  2. 2

    Salem said,

    I’m writing from Algeria, and I’m 50. Let me tell you that for me no other vine can replace Cinsault, either as a desert fruit or table wine. Please, let’s together give it the respect it deserves.


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