Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre (GSM); It isn’t just for the Pope anymore. In the past, the best GSM came from the Rhone Valley and Languedoc in France, or Priorat, Spain, and Australia. My personal favorites are those from the Rhone designated Chateauneuf de Pape. I’m sure GSM has been cultivated pretty much anywhere wine grapes grow.
Going back to the beginnings of viticulture, these three grapes have a long and celebrated history, but the GSM blend has not populated the globe quite as much as the individual varietals have. These days, some of the best versions of this blend hail from the West Coast. It started in Paso Robles, California almost four decades ago, when Randall Grahm, Bob Lindquist, and other Rhone Rangers took California winemaking in a different direction.
Starting with a huge contribution from Gary Eberle, he had the vision to bring California Syrah back from the brink of extinction by introducing suitcase clones from Chapoutier in ’77. Planting those grapes and convincing others to do the same set the stage for the beginning of this delicious trinity here in the United States.
To some extent, the Pacific Northwest has been producing Syrah and Grenache since the arrival of Peter Britt in Oregon, and a group of Italian immigrants in Walla Walla, Washington. Mourvedre was somewhat late getting to the party, but now from the Southern borders of Oregon to the Eastern reaches of Washington State, there isn’t a Pacific Northwest AVA that does not have some Mourvedre growing somewhere. Don’t be shy about embracing this blend when it comes from a region that is new to combining these varietals. If you do, you will be missing out on some awesome wines, like the GSM produced by Troon Vineyards: