When I opened my friendly wine delivery from Hahn Family Wines, I was pleasantly surprised to find a GSM in the mix. I’m so used to their Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, that I didn’t even notice the estate offers this classic Rhone-style blend. No Rhone Ranger, they don’t seem to have single-varietal Grenache, Syrah, or Mourvedre (that I could find). But using multiple vineyards from along the California Central Coast, Hahn indeed produces a beautiful expressions of all those grapes, blended in a most friendly, yet refined way…
About the Wine: The Hahn 2016 Central Coast GSM is made from 71% Grenache, 22% Syrah, and 7% Mourvedre grapes sourced from various vineyards throughout the Central Coast, including those from Arroyo Seco, Santa Lucia Highlands, San Benito, Contra Costa, and Paso Robles.
Each varietal was kept separate, aging in French oak barrels (40% new, 60% neutral) for 9 months with the final blend created right before bottling.
Flavor Profile: Out of the bottle comes a fruit-filled aroma with a secret darkness of black mission figs, black plums, wet wood, and raw cacao looming in the background. On the pour, the Hahn 2016 Central Coast GSM is a rich purple-red, settling into the glass as a silky interpretation of those two colors.
You can’t not smell this GSM as you pour and examine the wine: that darkness radiates up out of the glass. Add to the black fruits and earthy notes (previously mentioned) a gothic floral element as well — as if breathing in the decaying petals of deep violets and roses. Swirl and let those flowers come alive. Find fresh green herbs; livelier fruits like raspberries, strawberries, and black cherries; a solid line of acidity; mint leaves; and those roses and violets have been re-invigorated.
On the palate, Hahn 2016 Central Coast GSM is initially soft, smooth, and round until the acid and tannins hit simultaneously about 1/2 way through the tasting. Here, the mouthfeel seems to dry out, a bit roughly, though not harshly. This texture brings along with it a hidden essence of umami, most reminiscent of Worchestire sauce. More dominant flavors include oak barrel, black cherry, cassis, fresh wood or bark, with a lingering finishing flavor of smoked salmon and a gentle coat of tannins lining the tongue.
NOTE: This 2016 vintage is (obviously) quite a young one. While certainly drinkable and enjoyable — with the right food pairing — now, I’d be curious to see how this wine develops in 3 to 5 years time, giving the flavors and aromas time to integrate more seamlessly.
Food Pairing: I paired the Hahn 2016 Central Coast GSM with a seared salmon and a strawberry salad tossed with mint and feta. What I loved about this pairing was that the fresh strawberries in the salad pulled out more of the acidity in the wine, negating the rough tannins and adding even more liveliness to the fruit elements in the wine. The herbaceousness of the fresh mint, actually pulled out some of that smokey-woodiness, adding a fun, deeper complexity to the tasting.
More Info: I received the Hahn 2016 Central Coast GSM as a sample for review. (Cheers Ben!) Retail: $15. For more information and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Hahn Wines website.
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