From: Bekaa valley, Lebanon
Taste: The 2019 Tourelles Cinsault Vieilles Vignes offers an enchanting nose, filled with bright red fruit aromas such as raspberry, red cherry, and cranberry, complemented by delicate floral notes of violets and rose petals. The palate is light to medium-bodied, showcasing a perfect balance of ripe fruit flavors, refreshing acidity, and velvety tannins. The wine has an elegant, silky texture with a touch of earthy, mineral undertones, a signature of the Bekaa Valley terroir. The finish is long and persistent, leaving a lasting impression of freshness and complexity.
Pairing: This versatile Cinsault pairs well with a wide range of dishes, making it a perfect choice for various occasions. Its bright acidity and delicate red fruit flavors complement dishes with moderate richness and robust flavors.
Regional (Lebanese) Pairing Ideas. Kibbeh: This classic Lebanese dish made from bulgur wheat, minced onions, and finely ground lean beef, lamb, or goat, is an excellent pairing option. The savory, spiced flavors of kibbeh will harmonize with the wine's fruitiness and acidity.
Chicken or lamb shawarma: The juicy, spiced grilled meat wrapped in a warm pita and drizzled with tahini sauce will create a delightful contrast with the wine's fresh fruit flavors and mineral undertones. Check out Sam Sifton’s Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma recipe below.
Fattoush salad: This fresh, tangy salad made with mixed greens, vegetables, herbs, and crispy pita bread provides a light and refreshing counterpart to the Cinsault's bright acidity and red fruit flavors.
Vegetarian Pairing Ideas. Lentil and rice pilaf (Mujadara): The earthy, hearty flavors of lentils and rice, combined with caramelized onions, will highlight the wine's red fruit character and mineral notes.
Grilled vegetable kebabs: The smoky, charred flavors of grilled vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant, will enhance the wine's complexity and acidity.
Roasted beet and goat cheese salad: The sweet, earthy flavors of roasted beets and the tangy, creamy goat cheese will create a harmonious balance with the Cinsault's bright acidity, red fruit flavors, and subtle mineral undertones.
Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma
By Sam Sifton
About. What is it about Cinsault that has us excited? As a variety, it is perfectly adapted to heat and drought and in the Bekaa Valley, the conditions are perfect to keep its vigor in check. When fully ripe it retains remarkable floral aromatics and delicate but forthright red fruit flavors. Alcohol levels are moderate for a Mediterranean red variety and it preserves a high level of acidity. Not only does Faouzi Issa know of Cinsault’s potential, but he has both old vines of Cinsault on hand, and the intuitive confidence to let it express itself naturally by fermenting it, undisturbed, with indigenous yeasts in his family’s ancient concrete tanks and aging it only in well-seasoned French oak barrels.
“This is so good that the nose of wine made me smile out loud. The first sip made me laugh with pleasure. Outrageously drinkable, and yet there are layers and layers. It practically grabs you bodily and dances you around the room, singing 'Drink me! Drink me! Drink me!'. Damn delicious, quite frankly.” - Tamlyn Currin, jancisrobinson.com
For a while, we’ve felt that Cinsault’s moment in the sun has been long overdue. Seen primarily in the south of France as a variety best suited to making rosé or as an enlivening addition to red wine blends, Cinsault just never seemed to get the spotlight. Even in Lebanon, where Cinsault sometimes took center stage in a blend, it was frequently overwhelmed by the more aggressively flavored Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Luckily for us, Faouzi Issa feels the same about Cinsault as we do, and at first taste, we knew that Domaine des Tourelles was the perfect fit for our portfolio.
What is it about Cinsault that has us excited? As a variety, it is perfectly adapted to heat and drought. In its native France, it tends to be over-productive but in its adopted home of the Bekaa Valley, the conditions are perfect to keep its vigor in check. When fully ripe it retains remarkable floral aromatics and delicate but forthright red fruit flavors.
Alcohol levels are moderate for a Mediterranean red variety and it preserves a high level of acidity. Yet despite all these characteristics, it also has a tremendous ability to age gracefully. Not only does Faouzi Issa know of Cinsault’s potential, but he has both old vines of Cinsault on hand, and the intuitive confidence to let it express itself naturally by fermenting it, undisturbed, with indigenous yeasts in his family’s ancient concrete tanks and aging it only in well-seasoned French oak barrels. If any single Cinsault could establish the future of this variety, it would be Faouzi’s Vieilles Vignes Cinsault.
APPELLATION Bekaa Valley
SOIL Clay limestone
AGE OF VINES 50+
ELEVATION 1050 meters
FARMING Practicing organic
FERMENTATION Hand harvested, natural yeast fermentation in concrete vats, 10 day maceration
AGING 8 months in neutral French oak barrels
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