It’s time to pour a glass of this trending red. Here's everything you need to know about GSM wine blends.
What is GSM?
It’s an acronym for three of the most important red grapes from the Rhône Valley in France – grenache, shiraz and mourvèdre.
Why is everybody talking about it?
Historically, GSM blends were labelled as “claret”, “burgundy” or “dry red”.
These generic terms were replaced by varietal names in the 1980s and now wine is labelled with a single variety or duet, like cabernet sauvignon merlot. Crowding three names on a label can be clumsy, hence GSM is becoming more common.
But why blend?
Each variety adds personality and the final blend is much more than the sum of its parts. Grenache has juicy red-fruit flavours with modest tannins. Shiraz has structure and power, while mourvèdre adds briary flavours and a touch of funk. Where does local GSM come from? Warmer regions, such as Heathcote in Victoria and the Clare Valley in South Australia. The best comes from old vines in SA’s McLaren Vale and the Barossa.
What does it pair well with?
Australian GSMs are typically lush, easydrinking reds with oak in the background so barbecued chops and sausages, pizza or a hamburger are ideal. Bolder styles like d’Arenberg’s The Ironstone Pressings, Charles Melton’s Nine Popes and Penfolds Bin 138 cry out for a rare steak or a few years in the cellar.
How much are we talking?
You can buy Kalleske Clarry’s, Two Hands Brave Faces or Yalumba Barossa GSM for less than $30. Côtes du Rhônes range from $20 to $60, with top Châteauneuf-du-Pape selling for $100 and beyond.
SEE ALSO: A Cheat’s Guide to Choosing Wine
Our top picks...
Paul Jaboulet Parallèle 45 Côtes du Rhône Rouge
This modern grenache-syrah blend from the noted French label founded in 1834 features notes of cherry, plum, star anise and clove, with silken tannins to conclude.
France / 2018 / $32
Yangarra Estate McLaren Vale Noir
Peter Fraser’s ode to the Rhône includes six red varieties. Juicy grenache leads the way with lots of bouncy red fruits and aniseed spice. Tannins are in the background, flavour to the fore.
South Australia / 2020 / $28
Penfolds Bin 138 Barossa Valley Shiraz Grenache Mataro
The Penfolds trademark “power punch” defines this shiraz-led Barossa blend. Its concentrated black fruits and spicy oak flavours are firmly framed by insistent tannins.
South Australia / 2019 / $60
Charles Melton Barossa Valley Nine Popes
Charlie Melton first made this Châteauneuf-du-Pape lookalike in 1988 and it remains the Australian benchmark. Power and persistence are the key, the intense blackberry and mulberry flavours ensuring longevity.
South Australia / 2017 / $95