Choosing a wine to satisfy a group of people can be a challenge. After all, individual tastes differ and it’s hard to please everyone. So what’s the best choice for when you’re conducting business in a setting that calls for food and drink? What kind of wine can be counted on to please many without also seeming overly pedestrian?
The slightly out of the box selection of a GSM could be just right. GSM stands for a wine blend of Grenache, Syrah (Shiraz) and Mourvedre, the most prominent grapes blended in the southern Rhone valley in France. Southern Rhone reds tend to be hearty, satisfying and approachable, offering a nice balance of fruit and earth. Almost all the wine labeled simply Cotes-du-Rhone comes from the southern Rhone.
Over the past decade southern Rhone appelations have become better known in the United States – names like Vacqueyras, Gigondas and especially Chateauneuf-du-Pape, probably the most famous southern Rhone. Given the rising popularity, many Californian and Australian winemakers have paid homage to the Rhone with their own versions of wines using the same blended varietals. (“Rhone Ranger” is another name for these wines).
To generalize, GSMs can be even easier to enjoy than Rhones since they are New World wines and as a result are a bit more fruit forward. However, they are not the fruit bombs some wines can be, nor are they heavy and cloying. They can also be excellent bargains. All this makes them a sound choice when trying to satisfy a wide variety of palates at your next event.
Here are some good names to look for that I’ve seen sold locally in the Washington DC area:
Kunin Pape Star – Santa Barbara California, light bodies with a little pepper and easy tannins.
Hewitson “Miss Harry” – Barossa region in Australia, delicious and extremely versatile wine.
Courtney Benham Vin d’Eliza – Courtney Benham is a second label of Martin Ray, this slighter bigger but still smooth GSM is an excellent value.
Qupe Los Olivos Cuvee – Santa Ynez valley California, a subtle and restrained wine with more Mourvedre than typical in a GSM.
A GSM makes for a more interesting choice at your next event or dinner out, without being a high risk shot in the dark. I hope you enjoy one soon, and if you do please drop a comment below.
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Christopher Parente is managing director and partner of Strategic Communications Group, a social media and public relations consultancy based in Silver Spring, Maryland and Tysons Corner, Virginia. He also publishes Work, Wine and Wheels, a global top 500K web site as measured by Alexa, an online measurement company. You can follow Chris on LinkedIn or Twitter.