- 2016 Trader Joe’s Reserve GSM Lot 171 $9.99 (@Trader Joe’s; California)
As a general rule, American wine consumers are very focused on wines crafted from single varieties. Hence, most of the wines sold in the USA are labeled as varietal wines. Although, a wine labelled as Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon may only be comprised of 85% of that grape. The law allows wine makers to toss in 15% of some other grape without having to disclose it on the label.
Also as a general rule, American wine consumers are likely to devalue wines described as “red blends” or “red table wines” more than wines that display a single grape variety on the label. (This is true of white blends and white table wines as well.) That is partly what has given rise to fanciful names like Meritage or, in this case, GSM. But there is more going on in these bottlings than simply putting the wine out under a different name.
As we discussed when reviewing Trader Joe’s Jebediah Drinkwell Meritage https://wp.me/p9ygim-28 a red Meritage wine is made from the same grape varieties as the great wines of Bordeaux. Similarly, wines like this GSM are comprised from the varieties of France’s Southern Rhone region – in this case Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. (Rhone red blends also often incorporate Cinsault into the cuvee.)
Once poured, this wine begins with pleasant aromas of eucalyptus, black cherry, spice, and a little vanilla. Medium-bodied, it reveals lots of tasty, juicy black cherry, blackberry and plum flavors in the mouth. It ends dry with medium-long length and lingering fruit and spice notes.
In past reviews we have talked about the importance of the right grape varieties being grown in the right places. In this case there were clues that this bottling might be something special. It is a blend of wines from the Dry Creek Valley AVA of Sonoma, one of my favorite places in California wine country. Like the Southern Rhone, the summer days are quite warm, which favors these Rhone grape varieties. Sure enough, this wine is a gem.
We enjoyed this TJ GSM with a pie from one of our favorite local pizza joints, and it paired really well. In addition to pastas with red sauces, it would also pair well with chicken, pork, grilled beef and light cheeses.