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.