Cienna is a red Australian wine grape variety. It is from the species vitis vinifreda. Cienna grape is a crossing of the Spanish wine grape Sumoll and Cabernet Sauvignon grape first bred in 2000. The Cienna grape variety was initially created in 1972 by CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Ressearch Organisation). The purpose was to produce high quality grapes adapted to Australian condition which is often times sun drenched. Cienna grapes were designed to grow on the hot, dry vineyards of southern Australia, notably in the arid Murray Valley. The Cienna grape is found in vineyards across the country such as in Mystic Park vineyard in Victoria, in the region of Murray Valley.
The Cienna grape variety was custom-designed by the Organisation to merge the desirable qualities of Cabernet Sauvignon with the drought-resistance of Sumoll, a lesser-known red variety form Catalonia in northern Spain.
As a sparkling wine, Cienna wine possesses an exciting magenta red colour and bubbles that lifts to your lips out of the glass. The nose is filled with strong aromas of fresh raspberries and strawberries, with a distinctive leafy note, a quality typical of Ciennas parent, the Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cienna wine has a creamy palate with natural acidity, juicy flavours and slightly spritzy. Still wines are also made from Cienna grapes. Cienna wine is best when young and well chilled before serving.
Because of the characteristics of Cienna wine, it is best paired with well-done steaks, barbeques, chili flavored dishes. For instance, in Australasia or Oceania, it is best matched with Porterhouse steak with a side of black truffle sauce. It is also paired with grilled lamb, pork chops and even grilled chicken. Indeed, the Cienna grape and wines flexibility and durability is what makes it one of the most popular grape varieties in Australia.