The Hahn GSM Central Coast 2016 is a blend of 71% Grenache (mainly from vineyards in the Arroyo Secco AVA), 22% Syrah (mainly from vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA), and 7% Mourvedre sourced from vineyards in the San Benito AVA, the Contra Costa AVA, and the Paso Robles AVA, all inside the Central Coast AVA of California. The GSM Red wine blend along with the Bordeaux Red Blend are the 2 great Red wine blends of the wine world. The GSM blend hails from the south of the Cote du Rhone region in southern France where the production is regulated, a minimum of 40 to 50% of the wine must be Grenache while a minimum of 15 to 20% (depending on location) must be Syrah and/or Mourvedre. In California, there are no Red wine blend regulations, the winemakers are free to use any grape in any proportion. In Northern California the winemakers tend to voluntarily stay closer to the norms of French winemaking, while the Central Coast is known doing their own thing. But here, Hahn (a family owned winery and vineyards since 1979) is offering a wine that can be compared directly to the Rhone Valley. This blend was aged for 9 months in 40% new French oak barrels with the other 60% being neutral barrels. A neutral barrel is a barrel that has been employed to age wine 4 or 5 times, after so many uses the oak has released all its compounds into the wine and no longer influences the wine. Even though it has no flavor to give, wine aged in neutral barrels taste different from wine aged in stainless steel tanks or cement vats. The alcohol content is a stout 14.5%.
The color is deep, dark, opaque, plum red with black highlights. The nose is dark berries, toasty vanilla, raspberry, a hint of herbs, and spice. This is a sleek, dry, medium-bodied wine with solid structure and length. It tastes of blackberry, licorice, cola, and black pepper (soft, no bite). The mid-palate adds black cherry and dark chocolate, and a late contrasting slap of herbs. The tannins are in the mix but don’t get in the way and the acidity allows the flavors time to unfold. The finish mirrors the body of the wine, and slowly fades away.
The Hahn GSM Central Coast 2016 is a very tasty blend, there is something about those 3 grapes that really give the wine layers of flavor. This is a California wine and while more and more French GSM wines are made in the New World (more to American tastes) style, the Hahn GSM may be a bit more fruit-forward than its French counterparts. Not that that is a bad thing, a wine with loads of flavor is always ok with me. As for pairing, I am in Chicago and an Italian beef sandwich from Al’s or Johnny’s would really match or maybe a slice of gooey deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s.