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Vinum Cellars Red Dirt Red GSM 2014

Rhone Red Blends from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
  • WW89
14.5% ABV
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This medium plum colored Rhone red blend is complex and layered with spicy aromas and flavors. Upon entry, this wine has dark, dry cherry notes and is backed with toasted, charred oak notes which transition seamlessly to a silky leather texture and then is wrapped in black cherry flavors. The wine finishes with spice rack flavors including cinnamon, clove, and cardamom.

This is a unique blend that yields a combination of flavors that is only possible with a blend. The Syrah is very juicy and supple with a silky texture; the Mourvedre is responsible for the earthy notes and then the wine finishes with spicy Grenache which seems to express black and/or white pepper notes.

Aside from just sipping on its own, this wine is a perfect pairing with traditional Cassoulet and does well with lamb kebabs over wild and basmati rice or with tabouli and hummus. If none of these are available try a skirt steak grilled and served with a chimichurri sauce.

Blend: 55% Syrah, 24% Grenache, 21% Mourvedre

Critical Acclaim

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WW 89
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
A fine example of red Rhône style wine, the 2014 Vinum Cellars Red Dirt Red GSM exhibits pleasing red fruit and dried leaves in its aromas and flavors. The wine's softness in the finish pairs it well with a mildly seasoned chicken stew. (Tasted: November 7, 2017, San Francisco, CA)
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Vinum Cellars

Vinum Cellars

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Vinum Cellars, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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Winemakers Richard Bruno and Chris Condos first met while students at UC Davis, bonding over their love for Chenin Blanc and other obscure grape varietals. They established Vinum Cellars in 1997 with their first vintage of Chenin Blanc and since then have expanded production to include different varietals from multiple California AVAs.

Their philosophy is that winemaking begins in the vineyard and thus they value their strong relationships with top California growers in key locations. The duo has long-standing relationships with growers in Napa, Sonoma, Clarksburg, Monterey and Paso Robles.

Paso Robles

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Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, fruity, and powerful wines. With 11 smaller sub-AVAs, there is quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.

This is mostly red wine country, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel standing out as the star performers. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, and Rhône varieties both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruity, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

HNYVCSRDT14C_2014 Item# 355163