A nod to classic French winemaking with Vriesenhof Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre

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SOME of the world’s finest wines are blends made from different grape varieties, as this allows the winemaker the opportunity to make a wine that brings the best elements of each together in one bottle. The GSM blend, made from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, is a classic from the Côtes du Rhône, where these grapes – said to hold the secret to this French region’s wines – are grown.

Typically the largest portion of a southern Côtes du Rhône wine, Grenache is also the lightest of the three, and adds candied fruit, raspberry, cinnamon spice and grapefruit flavours. Shiraz adds the darker fruit flavours of blueberry, plum and even black olive, while Mourvèdre adds tannin structure and floral aromas.

The Vriesenhof Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre2017, grown and vinified in Stellenbosch on the estate, was released earlier this year, and has nuances of dark cherries, chocolate with beautiful savouriness and white pepper and a lingering finish of raspberries and leather. Winemaker Nicky Claasens describes the Vriesenhof GSM 2017 as “a beast of a different colour – the embodiment of numerous complexities that the drought wrought on the vineyards”.

Lower yields on the Mourvèdre grapes due to heat-based desiccation and shrivelling of bunches; small berried, compact bunches on the Grenache, and beautifully ripe Shiraz grapes led to a completely different blend composition to the previous year. The wine has a different aromatic profile from previous vintages, and is fuller and richer. “I believe it is an excellent expression of the vintage,” says Claasens.

The 2017 vintage is 46% Grenache, 35% Shiraz and 19% Mourvèdre, and spent nine months aging in third and fourth fill French oak barrels.

The wine is ideal to drink immediately, with pizza, pasta and Mediterranean-style dishes, but can also be cellared for up to five years. The recommended selling price is R100.

Available from Norman Goodfellows. Ultra Liquors, Makro, Wine Concepts or online via www.vriesenhof.co.za 

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