Obscure Wine Grapes: Cinsault

Rose de Ksara is a dry Lebanese rose made with grapes grown in the Bekaa Valley. It tasted pretty good with tabouli and olives. The wine is made with about one-third Cinsault grapes. Okay, so Cinsault isn't really all that obscure--it's the fourth most widely planted grape in France and a major varietal in Languedoc. But it is of particular interest to Texas. Cinsault thrives in hot weather, which is why the French introduced it to Lebanon, Algeria and its French colonies in Africa.

Readers of this series have commented that it might be nice to find an obscure varietal that thrives in Texas. As we reported back in 2001, the viticultural research project that launched the Texas wine industry concluded that Barbera and Sangiovese were particularly well-suited to the Texas climate. The problem was nobody in Texas was interested in those varietals back then.

Would Cinsault or some other rare varietal be a good match for Texas? Maybe, but we have already concluded that Sangiovese and Viognier do incredibly well in Texas. Texas wines made with these grapes are already winning competitions and stunning judges in blind tastings. But they still aren't making much of a dent in the marketplace. The question is not what rare wine grape suits the Texas climate - it is, "When will Texans try something besides Cabernet and Chardonnay?"

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