Hearst Ranch Winery, Reserve GSM, Paso Robles 2018 | California, USA

By Dirk Smits

Wine of the WeekJanuary 25, 2021

GSM is the acronym for a red wine blend including Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. GSM wine grapes are grown mostly in the Côtes du Rhône region of France with some production in the warmer climates of Spain, South Australia, South Africa and part of the United States. California GSM wine, specifically produced in Paso Robles, was adopted by a group that calls themselves the Rhône Rangers, for they continue the original wine making methods used in southern Rhône.

The GSM wine blend gathers different flavors from each of the three grape varieties involved. Grenache, which is the lightest of the three grapes, is often the most prominent grape in GSM blends, although some winemakers prefer using more Syrah to create a bolder GSM wine. In this blend, Grenache is used to add soft spice, berry flavors, and alcohol. Syrah gives the wine its sturdy structure along with adding dark fruit flavors and smoked meat and black pepper properties to the wine. Finally, Mourvèdre adds color, tannins, length and earthy tones to the wine. As a whole, GSM red wine is known for its full body, bright fruit flavors, leathery characteristics and aromas of ripe fruit and dried herbs.

The names Hearst and Winery are synonymous these days due to the popularity of Hearst Ranch Winery and its products. The most famous Hearst, William Randolph Hearst, was an American media mogul with a penchant for politics and fine wines. He was an avid collector who kept an impressive collection of European spirits and wines in the Hearst Castle Cellar.

Hearst Ranch Winery was established in 2010. The winery was a brainchild of Steve Hearst, W. R. Hearst’s grandson and Vice President and General Manager of the Hearst Western Properties, and Jim Saunders, owner of the Saunders’ Vineyards. They met when Mr. Saunders went on a tour of the Hearst Ranch. Jim already owned Saunders’ Vineyards, which he and his wife had purchased in 1994. Mr. Hearst, on the other hand, had the love for wine ingrained in him by witnessing firsthand his grandfather’s passionate wine collecting habit.

Hearst Ranch Winery, Reserve GSM, Paso Robles 2018

Origin: Paso Robles, California
Varietals: 42% Grenache, 38% Syrah, 16% Petite Sirah, 3% Mourvèdre, 1% Viognier
Sustainability: sustainable practices
Suggested retail price: $45.00
ABV: 15.1%

The wine was aged in 20% new French oak barrels, 10% new American oak barrels and 70% neutral oak barrels.

The wine shows a dark garnet color in the glass. The nose offers red stone fruit, sweet boysenberry, the right amount of spiciness and a touch of oak. Rich flavors of fruit unfold on the palate enveloped in juicy acidity and ripe tannins. While there is enough structure to lay this wine down for the next five to seven years, it’s drinking very nicely right now.

Suggested food pairings: Charcuterie, grilled vegetables, any grilled or barbecued red meats, roasted chicken, mushrooms, pasta with meat sauce, cheeses.

> For more information, visit the Hearst Ranch Winery official website.