I don’t often write about wines I relive, but some winemakers’ wines are just too good not to talk about. And it’s amazing the difference a vintage can make. But one thing that remains consistent year after year is Cindy Cosco’s ability to craft the most delicate, nuanced wines from even the heartiest of red wine grapes. So keep reading to learn about the Passaggio 2016 GSM Red Blend, and if you haven’t already, take a look at what the Passaggio 2015 GSM was like. Both offer up their own subtleties, but I paired them with wildly different cuisines. Enjoy!

About the Wine: The Passaggio 2016 GSM Red Blend is made from 50% Grenache and 35% Mourvedre grapes sourced from the Heringer Estates vineyards located in California’s Clarksburg AVA. It also includes 15% Syrah sourced from Sonoma County.

14.2% ABV

Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Passagio 2016 GSM and find plump, jammy aromas of blackberries and plums with just a hint of dry woodsiness. This Rhone-style red blend is a light, faint, almost smokey shade of maroon on the pour, settling into the glass the color of pure rouge—yet softer, completely see-through—and fading out into a rouge-y baby pink, and then…to nothing.

This wine is immediately aromatic on the pour: “Wow I can smell it from here,” said my partner in wine crime, who was standing at least two feet away from me. Initial aromas are of blackberries, boysenberries, and again that kind of dry woodsiness. Swirl and release a lightness and brightness of fresh acidity, presenting itself with additional fruit aromas, this time fresh ripe red fruits like cranberries. There’s a very subtle perfume quality that lingers in the background. Lift the nose just above the glass to find a kind of herbaceous quality as well.

The palate of the Passagio 2016 GSM is soft with plushy tannins that just gently coat the tongue and perimeter of the mouth. There’s an even does of acidity that rides throughout the tasting from start to finish. And that finish is fairly solid, lingering for just about 10 seconds, before discretely and elegantly fading away—just as the ombre of color perceived in the glass.

Dominant flavors are of blackberry, plum, a meaty-smokey umami (reminiscent of the crust on a grilled fillet mignon), a hint of cacao, and a hint of almond skins.

Food Pairing: I paired the Passagio 2016 GSM with a pan seared seabass topped with a roasted red pepper sauce, served on top of roasted mini potatoes and grilled broccolini. Loved loved loved this pairing: The pillowy potatoes played well with those plushy tannins; the red sauce, which was seasoned with fresh tarragon, pulled out the vibrant fruit flavors; the cruciferous broccolini amplified the lighter, brighter flavors in the wine; and the silky fish, in all its glory, was just a beautiful thing to eat—neither overpowering nor necessarily highlighting any one thing in the wine.

More Info: I received the Passaggio 2016 GSM Red Blend as a gift. (Cheers Jim!) Price: $49. For more information about Passagio, Cindy, her wines, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Passaggio Wine website.

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**Please note: all reviews and opinions are my own and are not associated with any of my places of business. I will always state when a wine has been sent as a sample for review. Sending samples for review on my personal website in no way guarantees coverage in any other media outlet I may be currently associated with.**


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