26 September 2023

All about GSM blends

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By John Rozentals.

So what exactly is a GSM blend?

Michael Fragos: doing great things at Chapel Hill with GSM.

Well, it’s a dry red blended from three varieties — grenache, shiraz and mourvedre (aka mataro).

Though not always, apparently, do the varieties appear in that order of magnitude. Labelling a wine as MSG just doesn’t have the same appeal, if you get my drift.

Each of the component varieties has a clear function.

Grenache adds its perfumed juiciness, and shiraz its trademark mid-palate richness and dark-berry flavours.

Mourvedre normally does come last in the varietal mix and has the stiffness to make sure it’s a red we’re drinking.

The blend originated, I believe, in France’s Rhone Valley, and remains popular there.

It is catching on in Australia, too, especially where there are old plantings of grenache and mourvedre. That is, mainly in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.


Chapel Hill 2019 The Parson Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvedre ($18): The Parson GSM provides a gateway to these quintessential McLaren Vale varieties with a focus on bright fruit flavours and a breezy texture. Smooth, silky and fruit-driven with persistent fine-grained tannins. The wine is a beauty and a fine introduction to the blend and to the region.

Chapel Hill 2019 The Parson Shiraz ($18): Fortunately, February and March provided perfect ripening weather allowing the vines to comfortably cruise through to harvest. Whilst yields were slightly lower than usual, the concentration and vibrant flavour in the resulting fruit is definitely a highlight. The red is an absolute bargain.


Chapel Hill 2018 McLaren Vale Shiraz ($33): My favourite red from one of my one of my favourite McLaren Vale wineries. It is a welcome addition to the tasting bench any time. This is a dry red to savour, one with plenty of tannin and brooding flavours of dark berries. We’re lucky in Australia to have reds of this quality at this sort of price.

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