As winner of the Rhône prize, and a case of Rhône wines, it's a brave man who brings me an Australian GSM.
However, this one is from the Barossa Valley, the Southern Hemisphere's spiritual home for the Syrah grape, where it creates intensely powerful Shiraz wines from seriously old vines, so I hoped for great things.
The Marks and Spencer Marananga Dam GSM 2011 (14.5% abv) is £14.99 making it a lot pricier than the £6.99 Spanish M&S GSM we reviewed last February. At twice the price, could it be twice as good? I guess that depends on your priorities. If you're having a bottle to quaff with some pasta, the Spanish version will do, but if you're looking for something with a lot more concentration to savour, then it may be worth a splurge on the Australian version. I'll be reviewing a number of French GSMs at this price point over the coming months. Let's see whether it's original and best.
The first sensation I noted was lovely mouthwatering acidity with the final sensation being a long red fruit sensation, almost with a hint of jammy sweetness. In short, this is right up the Purple Teeth street. Well done that man! Of course, it's no surprise given the 50 year old vines, which bring full fruit ripe intensity and concentration. The baking Barossa sunshine helps with ripeness, the blend of grape varieties gives blackberry, plum, black cherry with savoury notes, while the 18 months in French oak barrels add spicy black pepper and mocha hints.
It's by no means got the complexity of a top Rhône wine, nor is it a Barrossa blockbuster Shiraz, but, if you love full bodied fruit forward wines with some depth, chances are this one will delight you. If you regularly drink Californian Old Vines Zinfandel and are looking for a change, you'll find this one delivers or you.
I'd love to hear what you think of this wine, the Spanish GSM from M&S, or indeed any GSM blends you've tasted. Feel free to share photos of your favourites on our Facebook page. And if a different Marks and Spencer's wine floats your boat, we'd love to hear about it.