Honey Sips: GSM for Fall

Honey Sips: GSM for Fall

22 November 2017

GSM stands for Garnacha (Grenache), Syrah, Mourvèdre; a Côtes du Rhône (A blend from France’s Rhône Valley) that has a complex herbaceous taste that’s really exciting for a simple blend.

We called up Beyond Napa, a Sacramento wine merchant that we can count on to find us everything from exemplary to different and exciting and they dusted a few bottles off for us.

Here’s what they recommended:

  1. Gramercy Cellars “The Third Man” Grenache – 2014
  2. Sans Liege “The Offering” – 2013
  3. Graff Family Vineyards “Consensus” – 2014

Each of them needed a while to breathe so we opened them up and a half an hour later we poured ourselves a glass and pulled out some tasting sheets.

Gramercy Cellars “The Third Man” Grenache - 2014

Gramercy Cellars “The Third Man” Grenache – 2014

Blend: 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Carignan

This wine comes from Gramercy Cellars, a Walla Walla, Washington Winery we wish we worked with (sorry) that the folks at Beyond Napa wouldn’t let us leave without, and for good reason. It stood out from the others on sheer balance, it was elegant and nuanced in all the right ways—go buy a few bottles of this: one to blow your mind, and one for proselytizing to those you care about.

Here are a few tasting notes from the team: “smell: ground coffee, mexican dark chocolate, black pepper; taste: rich, smokey, red-berry jam, medium low tannin” and “smell: dark chocolate, black pepper, fruit punch.”

Sans Liege “The Offering” - 2013

Sans Liege “The Offering” – 2013

Blend: 45% Grenache, 36% Syrah, 18% Mourvedre, 1% Viognier

Viognier! Cool little addition, typically Viognier grapes are grown alongside Syrah grapes in the Northern Rhône; blending the two used to be a little more typical than nowadays. This blend is the flagship wine at Sans Liege—a winery out of Pismo Beach—and the label caught our eye first (what can we say? We’re suckers for good looks).

Here are some notes from the team: “smell: baking spice, leather, black olive; taste: medium tannin, asphalt, red plumb,” “smell: clay pot, black tea, black olive; taste: grapefruit, asphalt, mild chocolate.”

Graff Family Vineyards “Consensus” - 2014

Graff Family Vineyards “Consensus” – 2014

Blend: 90% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre

This wine might’ve done well with a few more years in the bottle but was still marvelous; it would have been amazing with food, especially some Hamilton Ranch Lamb #missedopportunity. Side-note: a few of their older vintages—their 2010 for example—had some Viognier grapes in there! Another nod the the way grapes are grown in the Rhône.

Here’s what we thought: “smell: cured meat, dark cherry; taste: black pepper, smokey raspberry,” “smell: plum, cured, meat, funky cheese.”

GSM is a workhorse of a blend that lets winemakers show flair and finesse in a way that makes unique, complex wines from simple parts. Generally you’re not aging them more than 5 years, so there’s an attitude of “drink this now” that makes them shareable and approachable for anyone at the table.