While working on the August Review of Washington Wines (on line July 24), I noticed that there were quite a few blends of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre in that issue. I counted six. I thought this must be a trend. I counted five more in the May through July issues.
GSM blends have been among our favorite Washington wines. We also love the blends of the South Rhone Valley, especially those of Vacqueyras, Gigondas and Chateauneuf du Pape, the inspirations for the GSM blends. Here's how the three varieties figure into the GSM blends.
Grenache - This generally (but not always) is the dominant grape in the GSM blends. Ripe and fleshy, with a medium bodied flavor profile, it gives blends a supple texture.
Syrah - This is the principal grape of the North Rhone, but it usually plays a secondary role in the South Rhone. It gives body and character to the GSM blends.
Mourvèdre - This grape usually plays a supporting role, too. Mourvèdre lends a spicy, smoky character to the wines.
The percentages of these grapes vary from one wine to another. Sometimes Cinsault, Counoise, Bourboulenc and Clairette may enter into the mixes (as in Chateauneuf du Pape). Here's a rundown of recently reviewed GSM blends with their varietal percentages.
2014 W.T. Vintners Red Blend, Walla Walla Valley, Stoney Vine Vineyard ($35) - 40% Grenache, 57% Syrah, 3% Mourvèdre - To be reviewed August
2014 Co Dinn "GSM" Red Wine, Yakima Valley, Lonesome Springs Vineyard ($45) - 36% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 29% Mourvèdre - August
2014 Saviah Cellars "GSM" Red Wine, Yakima Valley ($38) - 66% Grenache, 22% Syrah, 12% Mourvèdre - August
2014 Walla Walla Vintners "GSM" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($42) - 67% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 11% Mourvèdre. - August
2015 Rôtie Cellars Southern Red Blend, Washington State ($48) - 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre - August
2015 College Cellars "GSM" Red, Columbia Valley ($25) - 45% Grenache, 18% Syrah, 37% Mourvèdre - August
2014 Forgeron Cellars "Façon Rouge" Red Wine ($35) - 16% Grenache, 58% Syrah, 26% Mourvèdre - July
2014 Avennia "Justine" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($40) - 45% Grenache, 19% Syrah, 36% Mourvèdre - May
2014 Betz "Bésoleil" Red Wine, Columbia Vallery ($40) - 33% Grenache, 24% Counoise, 17% Cinsault, 6% Mourvèdre - May
2013 Woodward Canyon "Erratic" Estate Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($59) - 9% Grenache, 46% Mourvèdre, 9% Grenache - May
2013 Tranche Cellars "Slice of Pape" Red Wine ($35) - 26% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 34% Mourvèdre - May
Here are a couple of South Rhone GSM blends we've enjoyed:
2013 Domaine Sang de Cailloux Vaqueyras ($32) - Mostly Grenache with some Syrah and Mourvèdre
2012 Pierre Amadieu "Le Pas de l'Aigle Gigondas ($36) - 85% Grenache, 15% Syrah