Loyal followers know I have oft-stated an opinion that GSM is “wine made for people who don’t like wine.” And Paso Robles has classically been the focal-point of this jab. SOOOO many blends of varying formulas are produced–typically with creative or compelling or downright strange names–and, with a few exceptions, most I have sampled fall into a category where any varietal characteristics have been smooooothed away into a massive, generic *red wine*. Don’t like Syrah? No problem. Can’t pronounce Mourvedre? Just skip it. Find Grenache odd, funky and ‘light’? We got you fam. Enter: The GSM: like a great big group hug at a motivational conference with people you don’t know and never want to.

And then, one crosses my desk which cracks this mentality right across your skull, gorgeous and nuanced, writhing with careful judgements from each of the players, a wine not lost on the *bigger-is-better*, SERIOUS JUICE, BRO! or “Hey, this is nice” crowd and plucking all the strings intelligently into a resolved chord the wine 1 percent can appreciate.

Beautiful unfiltered dark ruby, running black-purple at the core and glowing pink-purple at the edge. A nose so *France* greets you: the Syrah green and young, briary and intelligent; the Mouvedre barnyard and black; the Grenache plummy and invigorating. The whole package a lithe, deeply-berried, earthy and savory wonder not relying on extraction and concentration, but floating gracefully on things that MATTER.

And then you taste it. It packs an amount of complex flavors onto the palate–all going in distinct directions that endorses an intelligent GSM. Vaguely smoky and roasted, a tanned-leather sub-plot creamy and anchoring. Pithy black cherry undulates at the core, never inundating or oppressing the vibrancy of the individual components, allowing everyone a stage to express themselves. A black tourniquet of chalky blood-orange chokes out the sweet unctuous berry, calmly opening a gash of perfectly-integrated tannin. Everywhere, Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre scream at you, each holding posters for their cause in a ecumenical rally. Delicious and smart, THIS is a Paso GSM I can get behind.

2017 RANGELAND WINES ‘The Shepherd’ SMG 35/35/30 Adelaida District Paso Robles 14.8

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