top of page

GSM: A Must-Try Blend

GSM wines are a classic blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre grapes, known for their rich complexity and versatility in flavor profiles (TBH, it's my current obsession).


Bottle of GSM wine

Grapes

GSM wine is a blend that originates from the Côtes du Rhône region in Southern France, known for its combination of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre grapes. This blend is celebrated for its complexity, versatility, and the unique characteristics each grape brings to the wine. Despite the blend's origins and traditional grape proportions, the term "GSM" has become an informal shorthand for this style of wine, regardless of the dominant grape. In Australia, there is a practice of listing the grapes in order of proportion on the label, but in many other places, including the United States, the blend is commonly referred to simply as GSM.


Grenache: Typically dominates the blend, contributing soft, spiced berry flavors and a round mouthfeel. Syrah adds a wild side with aromas of smoked meat, black pepper, olive tapenade, and a muscular structure.


Syrah (aka Shiraz): Adds a wild side with aromas of smoked meat, black pepper, olive tapenade, and a muscular structure. It also contributes blueberry, blackberry, and plum, adding color, spice, minerals, and tannin to the wine.


Mourvèdre (aka Monastrell or Mataro): This grape brings body and meatiness as well as flavors of blackberry, pomegranate, pepper, violets, clove, and smoke, adding tannins and structure to the blend.


A glass of Pontificis Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre

Regions

The traditional home of GSM wine blends is southern France's Côtes du Rhône region. However, GSM blends are now produced in various regions around the world, including:


The Barossa Valley is a renowned wine-producing region in Australia, celebrated for its full-bodied red wines, particularly Grenache, Shiraz, and Mataro. The region's Mediterranean climate, with warm days, cool nights, and diverse soil types, contributes to producing rich and intense wines.


The Barossa Valley's terroir is characterized by a range of soil types, from clay loam to sandy soils, and the region's Mediterranean climate is ideal for robust red wines. The valley floor tends to be warmer, while the surrounding hills offer cooler meso-climates. The region is also known for its old vines, contributing to low yields but high-quality, premium wines.


The GSM wines from Barossa Valley are typically vibrant and deep in color, with a nose that can include a mix of spicy, floral, and fruity elements. Red fruit flavors often dominate the palate, supported by fine tannins and a lingering finish. The wines are aged in a combination of French and American oak, which contributes to their complexity and balance.


The Priorat region of Spain, located southwest of Barcelona in Catalonia, is renowned for its rugged landscape and terraced vineyards in the foothills of the Montsant Mountains.

The region's terraced landscape is dotted with old bush vines, contributing to the low yields but high-quality, premium wines. The mountain ranges provide protection from winds, and the region benefits from a lot of sunlight per year. The characteristic of the soil, a key part of the Priorat terroir, is that it reflects sunlight, aiding in the ripening process.


Vineyards in the Priorat region of Spain

Priorat wines are known for their deep, bold characteristics, with flavors of ripe red cherries, black stone fruits, and rich baking spices. 


The unique climate and terroir of Washington State, characterized by dry and sunny conditions on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains, allow for the cultivation of grapes with high acidity and intense flavors. This results in GSM wines that are known for their boldness, complexity, and ability to age gracefully. 


Washington's GSM blends often showcase a harmonious balance of the soft, spiced berry flavors of Grenache, the wild aromas and robust structure of Syrah, and the earthy tones and tannins of Mourvèdre.


The Central Coast's diverse terroir, ranging from limestone soils to coastal influences, contributes to the production of GSM blends with distinct characteristics. The wines from this region are often described as being fruit-forward, with a rich and luscious character that reflects the Mediterranean climate of the area.


The use of French oak in winemaking adds texture and complexity to the GSM blends, enhancing their flavor profile and aging potential.


GSM wines from Languedoc are known for their bright fruit, extroverted aromas of ripe fruit, dried herbs, and a structure supported by tannins. These wines are fruit-forward, with a balance of power, fruity and spicy flavors, and silky tannins, often aged in oak barrels to enhance their complexity.

Map of the Languedoc wine region in France

Flavors

GSM wines are loved for their complex red fruit flavors and age-worthy potential. They typically exhibit primary flavors such as raspberry, blackberry, rosemary, baking spices, and lavender.


The flavor profile can vary depending on the region (noted above) and the winemaker's style, with some GSM wines being fruit-forward and tannic with a structure that never gets old.


Pairings

GSM wines are versatile when it comes to food pairings. They work particularly well with dishes featuring Mediterranean spices, including red pepper, sage, rosemary, and olives.


They can also pair well with red meats, game, and dishes with mushroom and pepper sauces. Seafood is generally not recommended, except for richer fish like tuna or salmon with a robust sauce. Mild meats such as chicken, turkey, and pork are also not ideal pairings.


In Summary

GSM wines are appreciated for their complex red fruit flavors and age-worthy potential. They are versatile in food pairing, especially with dishes featuring Mediterranean spices. The blend's complexity is a result of the combination of Grenache's fruitiness, Syrah's peppery notes, and Mourvèdre's depth. This blend carries the prestige but also offers an approachable entry point into bold red wines, celebrated for their earthiness, nuance, and harmonious way the varietals come together.


Until next time!


Cheers,

Jake

A photo of the author.



Ready to try a GSM? Here are some affordable recommendations:

The Pontificis from Trader Joe's is an excellent choice under $10, offering a fantastic wine bargain with a blend of 40% Grenache, 33% Syrah, and 27% Mourvèdre.


Another option is the Zalze South African Shiraz, Grenache, and Viognier blend, which is available for around $10 and provides a cheaper take on the GSM style.


The Hahn Central Coast GSM, which can be found for around $10, is a good value and has received positive recognition, including a Double Gold at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.


For more in-depth learning, check out this video below about GSMs!



Comentários


bottom of page