I picked up a few bottles of a 2008 St. Chinian Cinsault Rosé last week at Grocery Outlet in Santa Rosa. It caught my eye immediately because I spent about 12 weeks in the south of France last summer, about a 30-minute drive east of St. Chinian. The weather was very, very hot, which often called for well-chilled, light, refreshing local wines very much like this one, so I had to give it a try. Tasting notes follow.
A very pretty orange-tinted strawberry color. Many rosé wines from this area have something of the color of brandy in them--perhaps appropriate especially in the case of the St. Chinian wines, which also tend to have a little brandy on the nose. Very pretty in the glass. The wine was not especially forthcoming at first, but it had a fresh, clean fruitiness that eventually began to suggest red raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries. Later there were some caramel scents--the typical St. Chinian "brandy" note. Light and clean on the palate, at first seeming a bit too light, but with a good rush of fruitiness on the mid-palate and with plenty of balancing acidity.
Cinsault rosé wines from this part of the world are nothing profound--in some cases they lack substance--but they have their own charm. They are crisp, clean, comparatively low in alcohol, and very refreshing with food on a warm summer evening. This wine, the Seigneur Jean-de-Roze bottling from the Cave des Vignerons de Saint Chinian, is typical. Remarkably, it was less expensive here than I was paying for comparable wines in France. I suspect this offering simply didn't sell well and it got sold off in quantity to Grocery Outlet; the name St. Chinian is unfamiliar to wine drinkers here (although it ought to be less so) and Cinsault is a fairly obscure grape. Well, all the more for me. By the case, only $2.69 a bottle--needless to say, a bargain.
I have no financial connections with any producer or retailer of wine.
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