Winery/Vineyard: Wine Ranch Cellars
Product/Varietal: 52% Grenache + 29% Syrah + 19% Mourvèdre
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Doug Wiens
How They Describe It
Bright fruit, cherry, cinnamon spice
How I Describe It
The 2017 GSM shows as a medium-pale ruby red. Subtle signs of oxidation show from time spent in oak.
Common in Grenache-dominant GSM’s, red fruits including raspberry, cranberry, and strawberry lead. Blackberry and black cherry from the Syrah and Mourvèdre aren’t far behind. Hints of bread dough, clove, cinnamon, and cedar signal a tie-in to the winemaker’s “Big Reds” style.
Tart strawberry, raspberry, and cranberry join tomato leaf and green olive on the tongue. White pepper spice blends well with yeasty dough, baking spices, and fresh wood for a light and refreshing sip.
Wine Ranch Cellars’ 2017 GSM lives somewhere between dry and off-dry. The alcohol level is considered high compared to all global wines, but at 14.3% is right in the sweet spot for Rhône-style blends. Medium tannins and medium acid contribute to a lighter medium body than its Syrah-heavy cousins. And medium-plus intensity and finish make this GSM a solid wine.
Why is This Wine Special?
Wine Ranch Cellars is something of an oddball in the Temecula Valley AVA. As a standalone brand, it’s a relative newcomer. But its roots connect to a well-established winemaking family.
Almost all of the Temecula Valley AVA’s wineries are located on or around two make roads: Rancho California Road and De Portola Road. However, because the AVA’s boundaries span farther north and west of those two main drags, the founder of Wine Ranch Cellars decided to venture off the beaten path.
In fact, the Wine Ranch restaurant and tasting room (the only brick-and-mortar way to experience their wines) isn’t located in Temecula, at all. Its home is one city north, in historic downtown Murrieta.
That said, Wine Ranch Cellars’ roots are solidly planted in Temecula’s established wine country. Veteran winemaking couple Doug and Debbie Wiens — also of Wiens Family Cellars — founded the brand. If you missed the earlier hyperlink, TWR reviewed their Domestique GSM around three weeks earlier.
So, how do the Wine Ranch Cellars GSM and the Wiens Family Cellars GSM differ? They’re both the same vintage, both made from Temecula Valley grapes (likely from similar vinyards, even), and most likely produced in the same winemaking facility. However, the Wine Ranch Cellars 2017 GSM is Grenache-dominant, while the Wiens 2017 Domestique builds around Syrah.
This is actually a beautiful juxtaposition with the Northern and Southern Rhône, where Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre (G-S-M) come from.
The Rhône region of France is split in two: Northern and Southern. In very broad strokes, the farther north you go, the more Syrah is the main varietal; the farther south you go, Grenache takes center stage. Wine Ranch Cellars’ 2017 GSM is an excellent example of a Southern Rhône red blend akin to a blend from Gigondas.
While the Syrah and Mourvèdre helps give the Wine Ranch Cellars 2017 GSM structure, the Grenache base‘s jammy fruit-fowardness makes for delightful casual drinking.
When & How I Would Drink It
Pop this cork on a spring or fall evening just before dinner. The Wine Ranch Cellars 2017 GSM pairs nicely with lighter proteins and herbaceous, spiced dishes. Chicken tortilla soup, seasoned pork loin, or even a hearty charcuterie plate with cured meats and cheeses would pair terrifically.
How to Get It
Order: As of this review, Wine Ranch Cellars wines are only sold on site at 24683 Washington Ave., Murrieta, CA 92562. Call (951) 600-2800 for details.
Bottle Price: $49 ($39.20 for wine club members)
Cases Produced: ~100
Have you tried the Wine Ranch Cellars 2017 GSM? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.