Grenache, Shiraz (Syrah) and Mourvèdre are three Mediterranean grapes that produce a popular red blend. Most of France’s Southern Rhone wines follow the local Chateauneuf-du-Pape model where Grenache dominates, its high sugars and low tannins bringing full body and plump, candied cherry/berry fruit. Syrah is the most ‘all-round’ grape but blended it adds tannin structure, complex aromatics and blacker fruit flavours. Mourvèdre backs it up with more fruit depth and tannin but also a meaty/earthy complexity, with other Rhone grapes such as Carignan and Cinsault sometimes appearing too. Arguably everything to everyone - soft, rich, structured and complex - this blend was revived by California’s Rhone Rangers in the 1980s while in Australia very old plantings of the main three produce blends simply labelled GSM.
A legend of legends, the wonderful Clos des Papes eschews the heaviness and fruit focus of many a modern Chateauneuf to define an elegant, complex and 'Burgundian' approach to this preeminent ...