Most people are familiar with a Bordeaux style of wine, but have you ever heard of a GSM?
You may have even tasted this increasingly popular style without realizing it. The acronym GSM references the red wine blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre, often produced in the Rhone Valley in the south of France. This style of wine is known for its aromas of ripe fruit, dried sage and herbs with a pepper and herb finish. In Australia, this wine style is called the Holy Trinity.
Grenache offers abundant fruit. Syrah adds spice, a great tannin backbone and structure, and is a mainstay of the French Rhone Valley. Mourvedre finishes the wine with an elegance and complexity. The end product is a great wine, usually sold at an inexpensive price point. Grenache and mourvedre grapes are also grown in Spain, where they are known as garnacha, part of the Rioja blend and monastrell.
The French tradition of blending wines is an old custom, while in the United States blended wines were frowned upon for years because after Prohibition, terrible concoctions were created by new American winemakers by adding juices of fruits (not grapes), colorants and flavorings. Those blends created some horrific wines.
Today, many wines are a blend of some sort. Even some of the best California cabernet wines have other grapes to balance the style of the wine. A winemaker can add some artistry and complexity to a wine by blending to take advantage of the strengths and compensate for the weaknesses of each grape.
I have four suggested wines to try. As you will see below, GSM style wines are becoming more popular across the world and can now be found outside of France's Rhone Valley.
Rose GSM: The first one may surprise you, but it is a rose GSM. If your local wine and spirits store doesn't carry it, ask them to order it. Le Cirque Rose 2014 is 40 percent grenache, 40 percent syrah and 20 percent mourvedre. It is an excellent dry rose. Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator gave this wine 89 points. The wine's taste comes from its beginnings, where it remains in stainless steel, macerating for three hours with the skins on to retain the color and flavor. The wine has an intense color and great freshness with a spicy strawberry, watermelon and sage aroma.
Schild Estate 2012: Made in the Barossa Valley in South Australia, this wine is 45 percent grenache, 27 percent Shiraz (this is what the Aussies call syrah) and 28 percent mourvedere. The wine has an aroma of red cherries and tastes of red fruit, white pepper, blue fruits and soft tannins.
2011 Signarques Cotes du Rhone Villages: This elegant wine with a silky texture is 50 percent grenache, 25 percent syrah and 25 percent mourvedre. This is a medium-bodied wine of black cherry, leather, licorice and spicy notes that balance the palate. Wine Spectator gave this wine 91 points.
Le Cigare Volant 2010: Its blend of 22 percent grenache, 28 percent syrah, 17 percent mourvedre, 17 percent cinsault and 16 percent carignane is an excellent wine choice from California. Yes, it does have two more grapes that add some interesting characteristics. This wine's aroma is of spearmint, cassis, cardamom and cocoa but tastes very Burgundian with dark fruit and bright acidity and a lush, creamy, exceptional finish.