This Cinsault, a red star of the Eastern Pyrenees, will put a grin on your face!
Foulards Rouges, Le Fond de l'Air est Rouge* - Vin de France 2021, 12% ABV
Cinsault is one of my favourite grapes even though many critics are inclined to run it down saying it is “a minor blending grape” and “lacks the prestige of..such as Syrah or Mourvèdre”.
I have been impressed by some excellent examples of the variety from the Itata valley of Chile, one involving the famous Pedro Parra, the Clos des Fous “Pour Ma Geule” (blend, mostly Cinsault), and another by Aurelio Montes, the Montes “Outer Limits” Cinsault.
Itata shows prominently in Wine-Searcher’s search stats for the variety but the most sought after are those from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Yes, while most of the worlds’s Cinsault plantings are in France, the grape has found a welcome and suitable home in countries such as Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
This wine has a mid-ruby colour. Bright, red berry fruits head the aromas and also lead on the palate. It is soft and deep, notes of raspberry and cherry, sweet spice also. Quite complex too all the way through to the refreshing finish. Highly Recommended.
In the south of France, the traditional and somewhat famous food pairing for a fine and light Cinsault wine such as this is with Escargot, garlic butter and a French baguette. Importers Le Caveau say it's a perfect summer red to serve quite cool with grilled foods, charcuterie and mild cheeses. Wine-Searcher suggest pork and chicken, char-grilled vegetables and even Thai or Vietnamese cuisines while Wine Folly say well spiced vegetarian Indian fare.
The terroir is Les Albères in the Pyrenées-Orientales, 10km from the picturesque seaside village of Collioure (that those who have holidayed in the area will know) where the maritime influence brings the freshness that enables the wines to reach phenolic maturity without excessive alcohol. ..They say they “work.. according to the goodwill of the moon. The harvest is carried out in joy and good humour with small boxes of 13 kg to preserve the intact bunches. ..vinification is natural, i.e. without input if possible (indigenous yeast, no sulfur, filtration or fining)… Bottling is done manually and by gravity (no pump)…Purity is the watchword here; the first thing you notice is the freshness of the wines, and, dare one say, some pretty juicy fruit.”
|Local beach Argeles-sur-Mer
When Jean-François Nicq and a childhood friend Bijan Mohamadi (math teacher at the Faculty of Montpellier), bought the estate in the Eastern Pyrenees, they baptised it "domain of red scarves", a memory of their militant past.. All peaceful here now, though the bottle comes with a notice: “Attention danger and there will not (enough) be for everyone! Arm yourself!”
* The wine name, Le Fond de l'Air est Rouge, translates as The Bottom of the Air is Red. Puzzling! But then I read that in 1977 a French political film had the same title, the red hinting perhaps that there was socialism in the air. The English title for the same film was A Grin Without A Cat! Did that cat have a red scarf?