In my book, you can’t call yourself a Rhone Ranger unless you make a decent GSM. Look at the fine print in my book and it also says that those individual components have to shine on their own — Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre. Well, if you look in the glossary of my book under Rhone Ranger, you’ll see a picture of Steve and Brian of Crux Winery. Not only do they do justice for the Rhone-style, but they grow and produce these typically warm-weathered grapes in the heart of Northern California’s Russian River Valley.
Read more about Crux Winery here.
About the Wine: I’m going to keep things simple here because I’ve written quite a bit about the boys in previous posts and I’m (fingers crossed) about to embark on another wine adventure with them soon. So…
The Crux Winery 2013 GSM Red Blend is made of 48% Grenache, 37% Syrah, 15% Mourvédre. For those of you not from California, 2013 was quite a warm, dry year. According to Crux, the first lot of Grenache was harvested at the end of September and the last lot of Mourvèdre harvested at the end of October (quite a swift harvest). All grapes are 100% Russian River Valley grapes from various vineyards including their estate vineyard, Force 5 Farms and Windsor Oaks Vineyard (Grenache), Tablas Creek clones, Atoosa’s Vineyard (Syrah), and Estrella Vinyeard (Mourvédre).
The grapes were aged separately before the final blending: Grenache in all neutral; Syrah in 33% new French oak; and Mourvédre in all neutral.
Flavor Profile: Unfiltered and unfined, Crux GSM is mysteriously deep visually, as you pour from bottle to glass. I encourage you to use a wide mouth wine glass to full enjoy the sweet herbaceousness of the nose — a combination of green, earthy herbs and baking spices. Let the wine settle in the glass for a moment before you tilt it and put your nose right in there. Breathe in the deep, rich, purple fruits — plums, black cherries — with the most subtle influence of crushed anise seed. Swirl. Move your nose to the top of the glass. A deep breath in will confirm that hint of anise, along with a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder and/or burnt coffee bean.
The first sip will take you to that dark place — it’s rich with gritty spices from the earth (think about that crushed anise seed, cardamom, maybe even dried porcini). And yet, there’s something light and lively, a thin line of acidity that tells you fruit is here, but it’s shy. The plum, the black cherry, the black grape — they stay in the shadows.
The aftertaste lingers with herbaceousness — thyme, sage — there’s really nothing fruity about it.
My wine notes literally read, “Why is this wine perfect?”
Food Pairing: With all this “earthiness,” you may be surprised to learn I paired Crux 2013 GSM Red Blend with fish. A simply seared halibut fillet, atop a roasted red pepper bisque, garnished with baked kale chips. I believe I have an Instagram-worthy photo.
Was this the perfect pairing? Yes. Absolutely. Although the wine is certainly structured in a way that it could pair well with a land animal, I found that the silky texture of the halibut enhanced the softer textures of the wine. Meanwhile, I chose a red pepper bisque to complement the wine’s herbaceousness and spice-fullness, and the kale chips did just the same while adding salt and crunch.
More Info: Check out my Crux Winery Review for more details about Crux Winery and my short-list of wines to try. I received Crux 2013 GSM Red Blend as a gift (Cheers Brian and Steve!). For more information about Crux Winery and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Crux Winery website.
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