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Washington GSM: Panel tasting results

Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre are at the heart of many of the classic red blends of southern France, and their differing characters make them equally natural partners in the US northwest, too. Our judges were pleased with what they found in this selection from Washington state.

Ronan Sayburn MS, Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW and Ben Gubbins tasted 48 wines, with 21 highly recommended and 26 recommended.

Washington GSM: Panel tasting scores

48 wines tasted

Exceptional 0

Outstanding 0

Highly recommended 21

Recommended 25

Commended 2

Fair 0

Poor 0

Entry criteria: Producers and UK agents were invited to submit their latest-release, blended red wines made using Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, either entirely or predominantly, from any Washington State AVA region.

A GSM blend is often associated with the Southern Rhône, especially Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where most of the blend is commonly Grenache, with some Syrah and Mourvèdre.

In Washington State, in the US northwest, the  proportion of the most dominant variety in  the blend is often not more than 50%, and it’s not always primarily Grenache. 

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores from the Washington GSM panel tasting

Some wines in this tasting were led by Syrah (14) or even Mourvèdre (nine). So, as Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW commented, styles may be more like you’d find in a Languedoc blend (including a  handful that had small percentages of other blending varieties in the mix, such as Cinsault, Carignan or Counoise).

Washington GSM: Panel tasting scores

The judges

Ronan Sayburn MS is CEO of the Court of Master Sommeliers European chapter and runs his own consultancy and wine training company, RS Wine Academy. A previous winner of the UK Sommelier of the Year competition, he is also one of four DWWA Co-Chairs.

Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW is a widely published wine writer, consultant, educator and WSET lecturer. She is a regular judge and contributor for Decanter, and from this year is the DWWA Regional Chair for Tuscany.

Ben Gubbins is general manager and WSET wine educator at Vagabond Wines in London. A native of Chile, he previously worked as UK & Europe sales director for Dos Andes Wines before joining Vagabond in 2013.

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