Trader Joe's Petit Reserve GSM 2018The StoryThe Trader Joe's Petit Reserve GSM 2018 is a Trader Joe's $6.99 exclusive. A GSM is Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre blend in this case sourced from vineyards in the Arroyo Seco AVA inside the Monterey AVA which in turn is inside the Central Coast AVA of California. This is a wine made exclusively for Trader Joe's by ASV Wines.ASV Wines, the ASV stands for Arroyo Seco Vineyards, is a custom wine producer (they also make their own wines} and has been in business for almost 40 years. They can be contracted to produce a wide variety of wines, either using their own vineyards or contracting with other vineyard owners. The Arroyo Seco AVA is home to several well-regarded wineries that specialize in producing Rhone Valley-style wines.A GSM Blend is one of the great Red wine blends of France and is found in the Southern Rhone Valley and in particular the Chateauneuf-du-Pape region. Grenache and Syrah are often blended together in southeastern France and eastern Spain (here Grenache is spelled Garnacha). Grenache wines are often sleek and lean and Syrah wines can be plump and juicy with a little spice. Each one has what the other doesn't have and they work well together. The Mourvedre adds color, a floral nose, and structure.Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey is a cool-weather growing region. There is a deep ocean trench off the coast of Monterey that concentrates the already cold Pacific Ocean waters. Monterey has a variety of climates for vines, some areas are blocked from ocean influence by coastal mountains, some areas are high ground and windswept, and other valleys are well-tailored to cooler weather grape varieties. The Ocean not only provides the climate for a long growing season it also protects the vineyards from temperatures ever falling too low for vine safety.There is a certain order to California wine pricing, wines that show California on the label as a place of origin tend to be the least expensive since a wide variety of locations are available for grape sourcing. When you get to the main AVA on the label, in this case, Central Coast the bottle price can rise a few bucks, then when a sub-AVA is used like here the Monterey AVA the number of available vineyards lessens and the price tag can rise. When you get a wine sourced from a sub-AVA of a sub-AVA and the vineyard selection significantly lowers the wines can get pricey. Except at Trader Joe's where these wines can be seriously cheap, this Arroyo Seco GSM is $6.99.The GSM Tasting NotesThe color is dark cranberry red with black highlights. The nose is bright and spicey, there is blackberry, black pepper, exotic spice, black licorice, lightly herbal, and slightly floral. This is a red wine with a bit of complexity, it has a smooth side and a rough side. This GSM tastes of blackberry, rich and extracted, along with rounded black cherry, raisin spice, and black pepper. The mid-palate adds blood orange, tea, and raspberry. The tannins are dusty and provide a nice texture. The acidity is balanced, this is a $6.99 GSM food wine. Pair with stews, burgers, roasts, and pizza with all the toppings. The finish is subtle and fades before too long, but never really goes away.The Summary What's there not to like about a 7 buck GSM from a small AVA? It does not taste inexpensive, there is a good yin/yang between sweet and tart, smooth and rough textures and flavors. I would not call this GSM delicious, it is more challenging and interesting which is actual praise for a sub-$10 wine. This wine will perform very well with food.
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