This Blog entry is one of a series exploring some of the more common questions I get asked by visitors to Locals. We will also delve a little bit into how the questions relate to the Russian River Valley wines and Locals’ wines in particular. Today we are exploring the world of GSM wines.
GSM are the initials for a type of wine blend. The acronym “GSM” is a short-hand reference for a red wine blended from Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. GSM wines are known for their bright fruit, extroverted aromas of ripe fruit, dried sage and herbs, and a grippy, pepper-and-herb finishes that echoes the wines’ aroma.
In the United States “blended” wines have unfairly long been thought to be inferior. This prejudice is not without historical basis. Post repeal, blended wines could be truly horrible. They often contained juices of fruits other than grapes. Not to mention colorants and flavorants that would never find their way into todays fine GSMs.
Winemakers today can create distinctive GSM wines by varying the percentage of each of these grapes in a particular wine. By leaning toward more grenache, the lightest of three grapes, the result will be a lighter wine. More syrah, and you will get a bolder wine.
While grenache is the predominant grape in most GSM blends, some winemakers will use more syrah than grenache. Generally, Mourvèdre, the boldest of the three grapes, is added in small amounts to the blend.
Russian River GSMs
Examples of Russian River GSM wines abound, There is the Crux 2015 GSM Rosé (Russian River Valley). The Davis Family 2014 Throne G-S-M (Russian River Valley) and the Front Porch Farm Red 2013 (Russian River Valley),
Of course, Locals prides itself in carrying some of the best GSM wines the Region has to offer.
Pendleton Winery - GSM Rosé - Sonoma Co.
Pendleton Rose is a GSM field blend made in the style of Provencal roses, meaning the variety of grapes can include smaller or obscure varietals but the result is what the winemaker sought when originally planting the vineyard.
Peterson Winery - GSM- Bradford Mountain - Dry Creek Valley
Peterson’s GSM starts with grapes from the mountain which produces a high quality wine with all the classic characteristics of great Grenache—soft, luscious fruit, pepper and licorice spice, with the essence of minerality from the site coming through.
Building on this base, Peterson strives to create a blend with depth and complexity, while not overwhelming the nuances of the core. Along with the Grenache, the wine has classic components of Syrah and Mourvedre—and a dash of Carignane—balancing the wine beautifully and giving it potential to age for at least 5-7 years.
Inviting aromatics of spice box and ripe cherry with traces of minerality and earth provide a luscious, layered nose. A spice-driven entry grows into a core of sweet cherry and savory herbs. Plum, currant, wild blackberry and dried strawberry join in, along with hints of mint, cedar and a rich mineral essence.
Kitfox – One Time Spaceman
One Time Spaceman wines are unique blends from some of the best sites in Paso Robles. Each blend is different, but with a familiar signature. It is produced in small lots and represents an opportunity to try cult wines without the cult wine price.
Observe the glory of the blue hue in this violet brew. With aromas of purple fruit and fudge that do not budge this is a saucy tasty roux. The candied violet will bring a smile lit with hints of chocolate, plum and stew.
Treasure Hunter - Gypsy Riddle
This wine has aromas of rosebuds, dried strawberry, Dr Pepper and wild herbs. But don’t be lulled. On the palate the wine unleashes flavors of smokey pork soaked in blueberry soda, teriyaki and blackberry jam, black currant and plum. Chocolate sauce and beef char follow. Do you dare?
What to Eat with GSMs
You want to think about moderate to heavy dishes to accompany a GSM -- forget about oysters, salads, scallops, and sushi, which it would likely overpower.
Because it is typically a robust wine, GSMs pair well with fattier steaks such as a ribeye. GSMs also pair well with roast chicken, pork, mushrooms, charcuterie or moussaka.
You can be pretty confident that any dish in the realm of barbecued or grilled red meats is going to be a fabulous pairing. Earthier dishes such as grilled sausages or duck risotto would be a natural.
Pair with dry-rubbed, grilled chicken, sausages served with a quinoa and lentil pilaf, or your favorite meat loaf.
So give a GSM blend a try and enjoy some of the best wines the region has to offer.