The Rhône Revolution, Part Four: Mourvèdre pulls its weight in GSM blends

This heat-loving, late-ripening grape adds color and complexity, but it’s hard to find on its own.

THE BIG, BRUTISH red of the southern Rhône is no doubt mourvèdre, a grape that loves hot weather, ripens late and has found a home in Washington’s Columbia Valley, where blue skies are plentiful and triple-digit temperatures rule July.

Mourvèdre could be likened to cabernet sauvignon, as it adds weight to the wines in which it is blended, along with color and complexity.

It’s still a minor-league player in Washington, however, with slightly more than 1,000 tons harvested each year out of the 270,000-ton overall harvest. Much of that makes its way into so-called GSM blends (mourvèdre is the “M,” along with syrah and grenache). Because of its scarce plantings, single-variety bottles of mourvèdre…

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