I’m last on board for Washington Wine Month, but better late than never. And, to use another cliché, some things are worth the wait. As you can probably tell, I’m most familiar with California wines, predominantly due to proximity and availability — not to mention the added bonus that I can often meet with the winemakers directly. When it comes to Washington, I know my Chateau St. Michele from my Charles Smith and have tasted from the more boutique Amavi Cellars. But when I heard that DeLille Cellars is Washington’s Bordeaux-style pioneers, I was more than willing to reach outside my border. I present to you DeLille Cellars 2014 D2 Bordeaux-style red blend.
GSM is a classic red wine blend from the South of France, namely the Rhône valley. The acronym “GSM” comes from the grape names that make up the primary ingredients: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre. It also indicates the percentages of each wine that makes up the final blend; although exact percentages will vary from year to year (depending on a particular vintage’s quantity and quality of yield), traditionally there will be the highest amount of Grenache, followed by Syrah, and finally Mourvèdre.
But because wine blending (and winemaking in general) is equal parts art and science, vintners will spend days, weeks, maybe even months perfecting their final blend. If you have a chance to participate in this art project/science experiment, do it. It’s an opportunity to learn about the importance of vintage and terroir, harvest and winemaking methods, individual grapes and final blends.
On my last trip through Paso, I stopped by Zenaida Cellars, a winery I had come across when they kindly sent me a few bottles to sample. While their Syrah was outstanding, I truly fell in love with their Fire Sign red blend. But for some reason I held on to their GSM waiting for the opportune moment to pop the cork (or, this this case, twist the cap). And, honestly, I think it’s because of the name. I’m an itchy-twitchy girl who can’t hold still for more than a moment and wanderlust is something that’s truly in my heart. Well, I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m traveling — like, a lot. Admittedly, my recent travels are primarily taking me to various California wine regions, but in so doing I feel like I’m traveling to world as I learn and taste through each grape’s heritage, each winemaker’s journey. And so, now is the time to twist off the cap of Zenaida Cellars 2014 Wanderlust.
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.
I am a Fire Sign. Born in the heat of the summer, I am an August Leo — my planet is the Sun, my element, Fixed Fire. There is not one aspect of my personality that strays from a textbook description of my astrological birthplace. I am a culmination of those bright-light qualities as Zenaida Cellars Fire Sign is the accumulation of warm-weather grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel. The difference is while Leo’s can have a tendency towards the lavish, the dramatic, the extreme, this Fire Sign is full of grace, delicacy, and refinement.