4 smart South Australian GSM permutations
Is there a more charismatic South Australian blend than the GSM? Surely not. In Australia’s ‘single varietal or bust’ market, however, this blend remains something of an afterthought to the national palate – the Riesling, if you like, of the ‘big red’ drinkers diet (ie always the bridesmaid, never the bride).
What makes GSM, MGS, GS, MSG et al so charismatic is that, unlike Shiraz, Cabernet or Pinot Noir, it is largely left to its own devices in the winery. Obviously the grapes are still crushed, the juice still fermented, the wine still spends time in oak and still goes through malo etc etc. Yet, importantly, the fruit tends to dictate terms. The oak is typically older and the wine spends less time in it. The pressing is light. The emphasis is, happily, upon the simple joy of fermented grape juice, with as little adornments as possible. And the wine tastes better because of it…
Better still, these blends are working to the local strengths too. The Barossa/McLaren Vale/Clare Valley has considerable resources of old vine Mataro/Mourvedre and Grenache available and, indeed, both of these grapes are probably better suited to the hot and dry South Australian summer than varieties like Merlot or Sangiovese.
All the more reason then to utilise old G and M in the best way possible – to craft lovely generous mid weight reds…
Speaking of generous – tonight I had a look at four wines that I think are representative of the modern GMS (and like minded blends) style. Four wines – two from McLaren Vale and two from the Barossa – that cover a nice spread of price points and blend permutations and all, in my opinion, are worthy wines (and I enjoyed all of them).
The following wines were thus tasted single blind over several hours tonight. As usual, my extra thoughts (post-reveal) are in italics.
1. Grant Burge ‘The Holy Trinity’ Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2010 (Barossa, SA) 14.5% $46
Purple berry nose. Plenty of Grenache in this wine methinks, the style quite heady, warm and coffeed, the oak quite dominant and the fruit a little heavy and bitumen dried. Perhaps just a bit too heady and alcoholic, but the rum soaked cherry and tiramisu character is quite attractive. A GSM style of power and punch for sure that should improve further in bottle. Vale? 17.5/20, 91/00 +
2. Tim Smith Wines Mataro Grenache Shiraz 2012 (Barossa, SA) 14% $28
A quite reductive, lighter style – or at least initially – with a hint of muskiness. Lollied red fruit gives way to a blacker back palate, full of wine gum black fruit. Still looks a bit lean and reductive through th middle but there is plenty to suggest that it will put on weight with more time in bottle. 17/20+, 90/100
3. Wirra Wirra Original Blend Grenache Shiraz 2012 (McLaren Vale, SA) 14.5% $24
Sexy. Lovely purple fruit and a real vibrance and juiciness to this wine. Quite light on its feet and undeniably fresh and vital. Red fruit, aplenty and the tannins are fine. What a wine! Bang on really. Has that great tension between red fruit, fine tannins and freshness. 18.5/20, 94/100
4. Hither & Yon Grenache Mataro Shiraz 2012 (McLaren Vale, SA) 14.7% $25
Dense and quite firmly extracted. There is an old school, basket pressed quality to this which demands attention. Proper tannins too, combining vitality with structure. It’s not quite ready, but the red licorice and ‘real wine’ nature mark this as a wine of some style and presence. Like muchly. 18.3/20+, 93/100