For those new to this wine, the Bechthold Vineyard, planted in 1886, reputedly constitutes the oldest block of Cinsault on Earth. This is an historic little neighborhood. The Shinn Family’s old Carignane vines are literally around the corner from the Bechthold Vineyard. The Shinns have been farming their land since the 1850s. Even the families are intertwined – Matt Shinn’s wife Evonne is a Bechthold. In 2017 the old Carignane vines prospered despite the ferocious heat of late August and early September, while the old Cinsault took it on the chin a bit. During the benevolent vintage of 2018, however, both sites excelled. No wine is more emblematic of the Birichino style than Bechthold Cinsault Rouge. These are the only grapes on which we perform saigner. They grow in a very hot area, an area beloved and derided for its large scaled, often lazy, high alcohol caricatures. So here we have a somewhat artificially concentrated wine from an indisputably hot area, already known for concentrated wines, produced by a house known for modestly proportioned wines, and yet somehow, unaccountably, it is hardly our lushest red, but indeed our most superficially diminutive. It is important to emphasize the “superficially” bit, for while it tips in at a mere 12.5% alcohol with an unimpeachably civilized greeting; the handshake squeezes a tad more forcefully than anticipated. It acts like nothing so much as an old school Cru Beaujolais – all violets and room temperature molten rock.