Friday, February 12, 2021

Tenebres Vin de Pays d'Oc GSM, 2019

 When I bought two bottles of this wine yesterday at Trader Joe's I had my reasons: 1) it is a new product, 2) it is priced at $5.99, and 3) it is Grenache (34%), Syrah (33%), Mourvedre (33%) from the Languedoc in France. If I had read the back label, I would have left it on the shelf. And I wish I had. It is clearly made like a New World GSM and not a traditional Southern French wine.

The label describes it as a "jammy red wine with notes of oak, black cherry and cinnamon." I prefer my jam on toast rather than in a wine glass, and it is jammy precisely because of the oak aging. French winemakers know that Grenache becomes wimpy and flabby (sweet) when it is aged in oak. Some winemakers today, guided by the reputable wine consultant, Phillippe Cambie, use new oak barrels for Syrah and Mourvedre but not for Grenache. And, with all due respect to Mr. Cambie, I avoid these wines like the plague because they lack the peppery rusticity that I love in traditional Southern Rhone wines.

Deep, dark color. Strawberry jam, oak and oak spices. Ripe and easy to drink. There is nothing wrong with the wine, and the price is attractive. If you like Australian or California GSM, you really should give it a try. For my taste, I wish I had spent the money on two very good GSMs on the same shelf: La Vieille Julien ($5.99) and Pontificus ($6.99). The latter is one of my favorites from Trader Joe's.

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