Cinsaut or Cinsault

American wine drinkers have almost certainly never tried Cinsaut in its native form, but have tasted the grape as part of Pinotage, which it is one of the two grapes crossed to make South Africa's most famous and distinctive red wine grape.

Pronounced San-So based on its French pedigree, the grape is barely grown in its ancestral home of the Languedoc anymore.  In South Africa there was a lengthy debate about what grape it was for years, with the natives often calling it Hermitage.  That name, now a nickname or Hermitage is how Pinotage came to be named.

Of interesting for vineyard owners and winemakers because the grape gives a big aromatic increase to wines of which it is a part, but the grape is also barely resistant to disease which is a significant problem in most of the world.  In fact, the closed off nature of the South African wine industry is likely the only reason the grape survived for as long as it did without an incredible amount of help.  Luckily, viticulture experts can easily handle these types of problems now.