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 

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