2017 GSM by Passaggio Wines, San Francisco

Tonight’s Occasion: 2017 GSM by Passaggio Wines, San Francisco CA

Deep ruby color. Bright aromatic nose with lots of red berries, raspberry, ripe strawberry and a touch of sweet mellon. A backdrop of sweet cedarwood leather, hint of eucalyptus, and red vines licorice. Yummy!

Bright body greets with a touch of acidity. This quickly gives way to a smooth silky, viscous body with hints of citrus, pomegranate and crisp caramel. Dark cherry skins provide a thin firm structure that permeates the experience. A slightly creamy mouth feel fades away leaving behind crisp tannins, a hint of cola and mild spice.

What a vibrant melodic interpretation of the iconic GSM blend. I love every single one of Cindy’s wines. Words that come to mind are: precise, crisp, subtle, rich, balanced, humble, unassuming. This blend embodies all of those. It reminds me of the Fiona GSM by Bumgarner I have previously reviewed on here.

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2017 Texas GSM Melange by Pedernales Callars

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Texas GSM Melange by Pedernales Callars, Stonewall, TX.

43% Maurvedre, 25% Grenache, 14% Cinsault, 10% Carignan, 4% Syrah, 4% Petite Sirah.

Intense clear color. Aromatic nose, out of the bottle with bright, sweet cherries, plums. A noticeable damp wood leather permeates the nose. It’s dominant Maurvedre underpinnings are well represented. A subtle licorice lingers in the back.

Oh the body is beautifully composed. A buttery and viscous attack greets the palate. That crisp Grenache influence makes an appearance. Cinsault and Carignan bring great woody notes and bright fruit while Maurvedre, Syrah and Petite Sirah fill out the base with good structure and cassis. As it opens up a subtle bitter cola emerges towards the back. Transition to finish is seamless as the various layers interplay harmoniously. Warm spice emerges midway though and lingers long after, warming the lips and back of the palate. The entire experience fades gracefully leaving the palate dancing between dry and moist, with a bitter cola after taste. As it opens a soft creamy caramel lingers in the back.

Okay. This is a very nice GSM. I’ve had my fair share of amazing GSM but I don’t think I’ve had one with such delineation between its constituent varietals – each very clear in their expression. This tells me each of them were very well made and would easily stand on their own. Now I’m curious. I think the folks at Pedernales are up to something.

Nicely done!

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2018 Eighteen Sixty One (GSM) by Skinner Vineyards

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Eighteen Sixty One (GSM) by Skinner Vineyards, Fair Play CA

Deep intense semi-opaque color. Nose is a little shy out of the bottle with an unmistakable dusty old leather. Swirling vigorously unlocks a slightly heavy layer of dark cherries, cola, and blueberries. Leather turns from slight sawdust to wet wood. Distant hints of licorice could almost be missed. As it opens up, the cherry cola becomes more pronounced.

Body has almost no attack. It is balanced right down the line and greets the palate almost immediately with a soft plush light mouth feel. It brings a smile to my face because I know winemaker Adam Smith comes from an Oregon Pinot Noir background. The subtlety here bears an uncanny resemblance. Dark cherries are heavily restrained providing an unobtrusive structure. Minerality is subtle and has the effect of wetting the palate. Body is bone dry. If there is oak, I cannot detect it. I feel like I am tasting nothing but the grapes, the vines and the subtle parts of the terroir. Body and finish are almost one as wet an dry interplay on the palate, over a thin whispy cola.

Skinner for me has always been reference to the greater region. Adam’s style is precise, with clear vision and an unmistakable influence as a natural Pinot winemaker. For a region and Vineyard that easily makes some of the biggest boldest wines I know, this is a textbook exercise in restraint, balance and nuance. This wine demans focus and undivided attention of the intermediate to advanced palate.

Nicely done Adam and the entire crew at Skinner Vineyards!

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2011 L’Autre (GSM) by Terre Rouge.

Tonight’s occasion: 2011 L’Autre by Terre Rouge * Easton Wines. This is a GSM – Grenache, Syrah, Mauvedre.

A red blend from one of our favorite winemakers. Warm rich nose, with lots of cherry and plum wrapped in just the right amount of oak. Earthy mineral terroir is nicely expressed. Body is all business. Very structured, complex and balanced. Just the right amount of acid, tannin, fruit, oak, and terroir. A vibrant finish plays back and forth with tannin and spice, finally relenting to long lasting tannic grip. Once opened up, the tannins begin to spread from the finish to the back of the body, slowly dominating the entire experience reminding you that even though this is the 2011 vintage, it is still young and nowhere near it’s fullest expression.

We opened a 1992 GSM by this winemaker earlier this year. It was a true honor to partake in such a well built well preserved wine. So tonight we continue to explore this winemaker’s craft and how it evolves. There are moments where we feel fortunate to indulge in such art in a bottle. This would be one of them.

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