GSM among Washington’s most delicious blends

By on April 8, 2018
Schlagel Santos uses Grenache grapes from Red Mountain.

Jason Schlagel, left, and Jeremy Santo walk through Red Heaven Vineyard on Red Mountain to check on the ripeness of their Grenache grapes, one of the three varieties they use in GSM-style blends. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Among the most exciting developments in Washington wine country in the past decade is the rising interest in red Rhone varieties.

This includes such grapes as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Counoise, and a few other varieties. Syrah has developed a keen interest in Washington, becoming our third most-popular red grape and making some of the state’s most interesting reds.

Of particular interest is a red blend using three of these grapes. Known by their initials “GSM, which stands for the three main grapes: Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, this is modeled after the red wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, an area of the Rhône Valley near the city of Avignon. Among the most famous producers is Château de Beaucastel.

These blends are among the most famous in France, and the versions being crafted in Washington are among the most exciting and fascinating to come out of the hundreds of red blends being made statewide. The resulting wines are jammy with rich, ripe flavors, backed by spiciness and supported with plump, approachable tannins.

Here are seven examples of GSM blends being made across the great Northwest. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant, or buy directly from the wineries.

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About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .


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