Advice for Enjoying Edmunds St. John’s 2012 “Rocks & Gravel”

Edmunds St. Johns 2012 R&G Label

I opened this wine for last week’s customer tasting, and want to pass along what we found.  Just a couple of quick ideas can help you greatly increase the enjoyment of this profound wine.

The wine is aromatic and lively, even a bit frizzante at first.  The best glass of this wine I had all evening was actually the next morning, after the wine had been exposed to 12 hours worth of air.

To enjoy this wine to the fullest, break out your decanter (or any clean, wide-bottomed glass container), pop the cork and give this wine a good sloshing as you pour – this baby needs air – and some active swirling once decanted. If you can plan in advance, you’d be wise to decant two or three hours before pouring the first glass.

The Wine – A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (“GSM” 55/27/18%)  from Sonoma’s famed Unti Vineyard.  Give your glass a good swirl-n-sniff and you’ll get generous aromas of candied red fruits, sweet spices and dark fruits – blackberry and bitter cherries and delicious hints of sweet black licorice and cola. If you can find the willpower, this wine will reward a few years of quiet repose.  It is a baby right now.

For more info or to purchase, click here.


Wine Q&A: “What is a ‘GSM’ wine?”

No, it doesn’t stand for “Good Stuff Maynard“, but it should!  That phrase, from a Malt-O-Meal commercial in the early 80’s, became part of the popular lexicon for anything that tasted really good.  Many swapped the word ‘stuff’ for a more common 4-letter term, but the sentiment remained the same.

But in the world of wine, the acronym “GSM” is a short-hand reference for a red wine blended from Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.  Usually, such wines are from the Rhône valley in the South of France, where blended wines are the norm.  These GSM wines are known for their bright fruit, extroverted aromas of ripe fruit, dried sage and herbs, and a grippy, pepper-and-herb finish that echoes the wines’ aroma.

Sadly, most (but not all) of our domestic Rhône-style wines have been produced with a dominant (75%+)  variety – usually Grenache or Syrah – because we American wine drinkers are just now beginning to shed our age-old prejudice against blended wines.  Blends have long been thought to be inferior wines.

Nothing could be further from the truth, of course (Grand Cru Bordeaux, anyone?) but this domestic prejudice grew from a very old and sound reason – post Repeal, blended wines really WERE horrid concoctions.  They often contained the fermented juice of fruits other than grape.  Not to mention colorants/flavorants best left out of such an august discourse on fine wine.

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way, Maynard.  So go enjoy a GSM.  And if you don’t have one on hand, just ask a trusted merchant in your local fine wine shop.  Or visit the Red Rhône wine aisle in my online wineshop here.


Dave “the Wine Merchant” Chambers