Friday, December 5, 2014

Lodi Cinsault: Estate Crush

If you have more than a casual relationship with wines made from the Cinsault grape, you may already be a grape geek.  On the other purple-stained hand, you may enjoy Cinsault all the time without even knowing it.  It is a grape often blended with other, more famous grapes.  It's a role player in many rosé wines of Provence, it's in the mix of beaucoup Rhône blends and it even stands alone in Lodi, California.

A while back a few wine-loving social media users shook hands with some of the best Cinsault in California.  The topic was the stunningly complex, ancient-vine Cinsault wines from the famous Bechthold Vineyard.  Since Cinsault is a great grape for the holiday table, here is one of the wines featured in that Twitter tasting event.

Lodi custom crush facility Estate Crush helps the general public crush, vinify and bottle the fruit of the vine.  They also reserve a little space for their own interests.  I suppose, if you get a chance to make Cinsault from Bechthold Vineyard fruit, it's perfectly OK to kick out that guy making wine from berries he found growing along the side of the road.

Only 100 cases of the Cinsault were produced, and it's a gem that hits only a modest 13.8% abv on the alcohol scale.  Considering the lofty numbers clocked by many of Lodi's big red wines, this is pretty much like water. It certainly tastes better than water, though.

I was provided with a sample for the purpose of the social media tasting event.  What were some of the folks on Twitter saying about the wine?  I'm so glad you asked.

@Lodi_Wine noted that, "@estatecrush Cinsault was made with minimal intervention 2 showcase the fruit & vineyard."   @sperkovich liked the aromas and flavors: "Lovely rhubarb pie nose, strawberries & lite spiced finishing clean."  A tribute from @norcalwine: "Estate Crush Cinsault dials up intensity, palate weight, but still very balanced. Earth, drying herb," adding later, "I'd be very happy with a bottle of Estate Crush Cinsault & a plate of lamb sausage with couscous."  @CharlesComm brought it all home: "Thanksgiving anyone?"  It'll work well in December, too.

This wine has a medium-light tint and a  nose that displays a serious savory side, which borders on funkiness.  On the palate, flavors of black cherry, raspberry, strawberry and red berries are downplayed by the savory aspect. The acidity level is just about perfect, and the tannins are firm.  An earthy streak runs through it all and lasts well into the finish.