Cinsaut or Cinsault is a red wine grape, whose heat tolerance and productivity make it important in Languedoc-Roussillon and the former French colonies of Algeria and Morocco.
Cinsaut is one of those "grower" varieties that easily produces a very large crop of 6 to 10 tons per acre. At this crop level, it offers little sensory interest and imperceptible flavor distinction. So much cinsaut is overcropped and used as "filler" that it is difficult for many wine critics to issue it any respect. When properly managed to a crop load of just 2 to 4 tons per acre, it can produce quite flavorful wines with penetrating aroma and soft tannins, easily quaffable in their youth.
Wine made from cinsaut grapes can be very aromatic with a vaporous perfume that assails the nostrils and supple texture that soothes the palate. Fairly low in tannin, it is often made into rosé by itself or blended, to brighten the fruit and tone down the harsher edges of carignan, in particular. Although officially sanctioned in Châteauneuf du Pape, it is used by only a few producers in their blends.
It is often blended with grapes such as Grenache and Carignan to add softness and bouquet. In South Africa, it was known as "Hermitage", hence the name of its most famous cross with Pinot Noir; Pinotage.