The Tenebres GSM 2019 is a $5.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive sourced from vineyards in France’s Languedoc region. The name Tenebres translates to “Darkness.” A GSM Red blend is a wine that originated in the Southern Rhone Valley in France and is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre.
The Languedoc is the largest wine region in France and is where much of the everyday wine is produced. High-end villages and sub-districts can get pricey, but most of the wine produced is affordable.
The majority of the folks in Europe who have a bottle of wine with the meal drink value-priced wine. It is hard to budget two $30 bottles of wine a day on most budgets. $5.99 (Tenebres GSM 2019) is the norm.
When I first discovered Trader Joe’s, I thought that wines such as the Tenebres GSM 2019 could not be any good. Wine marketing had me believing that the bottle’s price was directly tied to the quality of the wine.
It took me some time to figure out that people from wine-producing European countries drank cheap wine and like it. Nobody goes through the effort of making a meal only to ruin everything with a bad bottle of wine. Yes, there are wines for all price-points and all occasions, but quality wine can be inexpensive.
A GSM Blend is one of the two classic French wine blends. The most famous is the Bordeaux blend, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, along with Petite Verdot and Malbec’s lesser amounts. There is the GSM Rhone blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.
A solid Bordeaux blend may be a little difficult to find for value wine drinkers since the key to that blend is the interplay between the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Bordeaux produces some of the best Merlot globally, but it can be difficult to find excellent Merlot at a lower price point.
With a GSM Blend, the attraction is not the excellence of the two main grapes; each of the three grapes adds something to the blend that the others do not possess. A $5.99 Trader Joe’s wine, Tenebres GSM 2019, can work. The blend does not need the best vineyards to be excellent; the three grapes need to offer what is expected.
I have yet to taste this wine, but the fact that the blend is one-third Grenache, one-third Syrah, and one-third Mourvedre gives me hope that this wine may drink well. The winemakers are not hiding anything; every grape is added in equal parts. They are not using mostly the grape that is showing well with smaller amounts of the others. That indicates they had confidence in the entire blend. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
Tenebres GSM 2019 Tasting Notes
The color is a barely see-thru cherry red with black highlights. The nose is rich and jammy, with blackberry, cherry, oak spice, baking spices, black pepper, licorice, and bitter chocolate. Some scents come from oak barrel aging, which is surprising to find in a $5.99 wine.
This is a wine with a silky mouthfeel and a solid array of flavors. It starts with blackberry, cola, soft spice, and black cherry. The mid-palate adds blueberry with a bit of cream, a rougher splash of spice, a salty sensation, and a late cinnamon slap.
I mentioned before that this type of wine is often included in the daily meal. Value-priced food wines often do not sip well; they are made to balance when accompanying food. The Tenebres GSM 2019 drinks very well.
- The Tenebres GSM 2019 is a tasty wine. It does not taste exactly like a classic Rhone Valley GSM, it is from the Languedoc after all, but it does sip well.
- I am no longer shocked when a seriously inexpensive wine offers an enjoyable drinking experience.
- I prefer the Rhone version of GSM blends, but you cannot beat the price for the Tenebres GSM 2019.