Grenache, syrah and mourvèdre are some of the grape varieties that make up the classic red blends found in the southern Rhône Valley in France. Often called GSM wines, the combination of these grapes produces rich, flavorful reds that taste of dark fruits and spice. While robust reds from the prestigious appellations of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas can be pricey, there are many affordable GSM choices from Côtes du Rhône and other appellations in southern France including Minervois in the western Languedoc region. Below are two examples.
Santa Duc 2016 Les Vielles Vignes, Côtes du Rhône, France
Bought • Starrs, 1135 South Big Bend Boulevard, in August for $14.99
Description • Domaine Santa Duc, which was constructed in 1874, is in its sixth generation of ownership by the Gras family known for its Gigondas wines. A blend of 60 percent old-vines grenache, 20 percent syrah and 10 percent mourvèdre and small amounts of other grape varieties, this is a medium-bodied red that has an inviting fruity and floral aroma. Fresh and juicy, it’s a versatile, easy-to-drink red that would go with everything from burgers and meatloaf to roasted chicken.
Château Massiac 2016 Minervois, France
Bought • Starrs, 1135 South Big Bend Boulevard, in August for $15.99
Description • Although the Santa Duc is a good everyday wine, this delicious, complex GSM blend is well worth an additional dollar. It’s a selection from the highly regarded Rosenthal Wine Merchant, known for importing small production, natural wines that are often unfined and unfiltered. This is a beautifully balanced, lush red that’s soft and elegant with concentrated blackberry and other dark fruit flavors and peppery spice. It ends with a long, silky finish. It’s a very flavorful wine that would be great with steak au poivre.