On Friday the 19th of September it’s the International Grenache Day on which James Halliday will be visiting the Serafino winery showcasing his choice of Grenache wines. This grape variety is probably one that you have heard very little of (besides the fact that it is the worlds most widely distributed grape), but I’m sure the abbreviation GSM does ring a bell even to those who are not familiar with wine terminology.
There's no need to wait for a wineshow in order to try out some of the various GSM blends, so why not organise a wine tasting event with your friends. You could do it alone as well, but besides the upside of sharing the costs, social drinking is also a lot more acceptable. ;)
I picked out a few different McLaren Vale Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre wines ranging in cost from $12 to $30 a bottle which I recommend would each make for a very good introduction to these iconic Australian red blends.
1) d'Arenberg Stump Jump Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre is probably the best buy if you're on a tighter budget. Considering the price (about $12 a bottle before delivery), this McLaren Vale GSM is more than simply a "decent" red having scored 88 points from Winecompanion’s expert, Ben Edwards. It’s available for more or less the same price at Vintage Cellars, First Choice Liquor and Dan Muprhy’s. However, with Dan’s free shipping voucher you’re best off getting it from them and saving yourself a few bucks at $11.99 a bottle.
2) The 2012 Partisan Trench Coat GSM is on sale at Crackawines at 20% off market prices, each bottle working out at $15.99. This red, listed amongst the top 100 great blends in several articles and wine review pages, is being sold in cases of 6 for a total of $102.89 with delivery. However, you can now get another $30 off by using Crackawine’s current voucher, dropping the price to just $77.89 shipped. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, Crackawines has a good selection in stock of Halliday rated McLaren Vale GSMs. These range in price from $24.99 to $31.50 a bottle, with the $30 off voucher being valid on all of them.
3) The Chapel Hill Abacus McLaren Vale GSM with its herbal aromas of aniseed and rosemary resembles a more Mediterranean style of the blend, which could be a welcome alternative to your tasting event. First Choice is selling this variety for $19 across any six, although if you prefer to purchase a single bottle instead then you only have to chip in an extra dollar (costing you $20 before delivery).
4) Moving up in price, we’re now getting to the multiple award winning GSMs that all have scores of above 90 points on the Halliday scale, such as the Serafino Grenache Shiraz Mataro. Note that Serafino has kept the Australian name Mataro on the label for the Mourvedre grape variety, which in my opinion is a nice (and very patriotic) touch. You can drink this wine at any occasion as well as bringing it with you to dinner parties or other special events. So don’t be afraid to order a half dozen from Dan Murphy’s who has this in stock for $140.95. It won’t disappoint. Also, don't forget Dan's free shipping voucher.
5) One of the most common ways to distinguish a Grenache-based wine is the high alcohol level, often surpassing 15% ABV. So last but not least, you should definitely try one of these. The 2012 vintage Marietta Grenache Shiraz Mataro is a potent GSM which comes straight from the heart of McLaren Vale produced by Di Fabio’s winery. Cellarmasters has this wine in stock for $29.99 a bottle, but unfortunately you’ll have to buy them in a case of 12. The dozen bottles delivered works out at a total of $368.03.
Useful facts about GSM:
The abbreviation GSM originates from Australia and it stands for Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre. Although the latter grape is called Mataro across the country, it coincidentally also starts with the letter M.
McLaren Vale in particular is the perfect region for growing each of the grapes which make up the GSM thanks to its diverse climate and soil characteristics, thus making it home to the world's most acclaimed GSM blends.
This vigorous red depicts a spicy, rich berry flavour with distinctive tasting notes of Grenache’s red berries, Shiraz’ dark chocolate and Mourvedre’s intense tannins. Combined, they accompany any spicy and meaty dish very well, particularly lamb and game in case you’re planning to serve dinner at your wine tasting party.