19 May Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Cinsault Two Ways with the Two Shepherds 2020 Cinsault Ancient Vine and 2020 Blanc de Cinsault Ancient Vine from the Bechthold Vineyard in Lodi, California
Cinsault is a red grape from the Rhone Valley in France that is typically blended with other grapes like Grenache and Carignan. In California, it is possible to find single varietal bottlings of Cinsault, especially from the ancient Bechthold Vineyard in Lodi. One producer of old vine Cinsault is Two Shepherds in Sonoma. But what is especially interesting is that for the 2020 vintage, Two Shepherds produced both a Cinsault and a Cinsault Blanc. Tasting the Two Shepherds Cinsault two ways (red and white) is the Please The Palate wine of the week.
Winemaker William Allen sources the Cinsault from the famous Bechthold Vineyard in Lodi. Planted in 1886, it is the oldest planting of Cinsault in the world. In 2020, as a result of the fires, there was more fruit from the Bechthold Vineyard available. As a result, William got more Cinsault than normal.
William split the lots of Cinsault. One lot produced the Two Shepherds 2020 Cinsault, Ancient Vine, Bechthold Vineyard, Lodi, California. The grapes were whole cluster fermented with native yeast before being foot stomped. Placed in neutral barrels for 8 months, the wine spends 7 months sur lie. Unfined and unfiltered, the resulting wine, with its cranberry, rhubarb, and herbal nose, is super fresh and utterly quaffable.
For the other lot of Cinsault, William planned to make a Rosé of Cinsault. The whole clusters spent two hours in the press but due to the light pigment of the Cinsault grape, the color dropped out. The wine looked more like a white wine than a rosé. So, William ended up bottling a very unique and unusual Blanc de Cinsault.
William says the Two Shepherds 2020 Blanc de Cinsault, Ancient Vine, Bechthold Vineyard, Lodi, California is a one time only production but it is quite delicious. Fresh with beautiful mouthwatering minerality, this is a wine to enjoy while sitting outside.
The Two Shepherds 2020 Cinsault Ancient Vine and Two Shepherds 2020 Blanc de Cinsault Ancient Vine will not be released until the fall. There are 175 cases of the Cinsault produced and only 50 cases of the Blanc de Cinsault. Both are utterly delectable so be sure to stay on alert for when these wines are released. To be notified, sign up for the Two Shepherds newsletter, I know I have!