Hello Cinsault, you are usually blended with Grenache, Syrah, and/or Mourvèdre. Because of your light skin, you’re a fun grape to blend into a Rhône-style rosé (often using the saignée method), adding a bit of funky-perfume to the mix. Hello Cinsault, meet Mr. Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines — he loves you just as you are.

“I refer to this wine as my ‘MTV Unplugged’ wine,” says Larry, “It’s like a young singer sitting in the corner playing acoustic guitar and singing unmiced, more of a ‘whisper’ of a wine – it does not scream like so many other red wines do.” So…let’s jam shall we?

About the Wine: The Tercero Wines 2016 Cinsault is made from 100% Cinsault grapes found in Santa Barbara County, California. The grapes were foot-stomped, whole cluster, then fermented with stem inclusion. The wine was then pressed and left to age in French oak barrels (100% seasoned) for 8 months.

11.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Twist off that cap and find funky aromas of dried fruits like currents, prunes, and plums. On the pour, this Cinsault is a light, rusty pinkish-red, settling into the glass like a faded ruby gem — quite iridescent, but still quite light. Initial aromas are still of those funky dried fruits, but add to it a bit of fresh country air — a little dusty, but still crisp and fresh. Swirl to reveal a light line of acidity that livens up those fruit aromas, releasing scents of raspberries, boysenberries, marionberries, and hints of fresh herbs like anise and mint.

On the palate the Tercero Wines 2016 Cinsault is extremely light-bodied, but full with fruits and fruit skins — fruit skins that just skim the edges of the tongue at the very end. Dominant flavors are of tart cherry, fresh eucalyptus leaf, old tree bark, and strawberries. Indeed, the acidity here is at a good medium-high level that keeps all the flavors fully alive. At the end, the acid gives the palate a solid kick, while those tannins kiss the tongue, leaving a floral-herbal black tea-like finish.

Food Pairing: I like to do contrary, experimental things with Larry’s wine — I feel like that’s what they call for. So, I paired the Tercero Wines 2016 Cinsault with cheese tortellini pasta tossed with sautéed mushrooms and onions, mixed with a white cream sauce. Pure comfort food on a chilly fall evening. And it paired beautifully with my Cinsault.

Of course, you can go obvious and pair this light red wine with an appetizer (it would go fantastic with a cheese and charcuterie board) or a refreshing main dish (I would love to try this with my salmon salad). But I absolutely loved how the free-spirited body of the wine contrasted the richness of the pasta dish as well as added a much-needed cut of acidity.

Try it. I dare you.

More Info: I received the Tercero Wines 2016 Cinsault as a sample for review. (Cheers Larry!) Retail: $35 For more information about Tercero Wines, Larry, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Tercero Wines website.

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