You want me to Cin.. what?
What is this crazy variety called Cinsault? Pronounced SaN-so, it is one of the 13 varieties permitted in the Chateaunuf-du-Pape wines in Southern France. Cinsault is rarely seen bottled on its own, as it tends to produce wines with a lighter or softer profile. Amazingly, there is more Cinsault planted in France than Cabernet Sauvignon, but you never hear about it since it is a blending varietal and rarely bottled on its own. We like to describe Cinsault as the perfect blend of Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. Onesta Cinsault has the delicate body of a Pinot and the wild berry fruit forward character of a Zinfandel.
Onesta is one of a few lucky wineries to source grapes from the famous 25 acre Bechthold Cinsault Vineyard in Lodi, California. The Bechthold vineyard is the oldest continuously farmed vineyard in the Lodi region, planted in 1886. The Bechthold Vineyard is named after Al Bechthold and his wife Wanda Woock Bechthold, who have taken care of this vineyard from the mid seventies to 2008. Wanda gets all the credit for keeping these magical vines from being ripped out and planted to Chardonnay or another more ‘normal’ California varietal. While Wanda took a stand for keeping the vines, Al worked hard to keep them alive with hands on farming practices for over 30 years. Now in their 80’s, Al and Wanda have turned the farming responsibilities over to Kevin Phillips of Phillips Farms, one of the best vineyard management outfits in Lodi. Kevin has a soft spot in his heart for this vineyard, replanting and hand watering the new plants and weak vines to keep the vineyard going.
Kevin has mapped out vineyard blocks for each winery purchasing fruit from this acclaimed vineyard. Onesta has a 4.2 acre block on the east side of the vineyard where the weakest vines are planted producing the most concentrated fruit in the whole vineyard. Jillian is always the last winemaker to harvest her fruit and produces a Cinsault with the most concentrated flavors and aromas. Rhubarb, cherry and strawberry are the aroma markers from this vineyard and the wines have a mouthfeel that is rich velvety sensation from start to finish.