What is a GSM Wine Blend? Rhône Style Wines in Russian River Valley | Crux Winery
At Crux, we specialize in Rhone varietals grown in the Russian River Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA). In a place famous for cool weather varietals, we seek out relatively warmer sites to grow Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvédre, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah. This area, unofficially known as the Middle Reach of the Russian River, is a transitional area, with a wide variety of grapes planted and bordering on several other AVAs (i.e., Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and Chalk Hill). This confluence is the basis for the Crux name, our primary vineyard sources, and our homes.Our 2016 GSM is a Grenache, Syrah, Mourvédre blend (56/26/18) in the classic style of the Southern Rhone Valley. The vintage was very warm with an early start to harvest but not record breaking (like the previous 2015 vintage). As usual, we fermented the three varietal components separately using the native yeasts from the vineyard. This laborious, old school process provides long skin contact time (2 weeks +/-) in the fermentor for deep flavor, rich color, and moderate tannin. Each lot was gently basket pressed, with the Grenache going into neutral, French Oak puncheons. These are large format barrel (132 gallons) which have less surface area to wine than a standard barrel (59 gallons). This provides the Grenache with less barrel impact or micro oxygenation than if aged in standard cooperage. The Syrah and Mourvédre were aged in standard French oak barrels, 20% new for the Syrah and all neutral for the Mourvédre.We blend the GSM with the goal of creating a middle weight, food friendly wine. We like the Grenache to dominate the aromatics with the richness of Syrah to broaden the palate. The impact of Mourvédre is a challenge to describe, it provides earth tones, spice, and depth. I’m sure that sounds vague, but you miss it when it’s not there.This wine is well balanced and ready to drink now. If you have the patience, it has the tannin and structure for long term cellaring, we expect it to be drinking nicely for at least 5 – 7 more years.