Grenache, Syrah & Mourvèdre – The three red grape varieties that make up the blend.

This blend originates in the Côtes du Rhône (Slopes of Rhône) region of France – most famously at Châteauneuf-du-Pape (translates to, “new house of the pope”).

It can consist of up to 19 varietals, including white varieties, but Grenache, Syrah & Mourvèdre are the three dominant ones.

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or not, you’ve probably had a GSM as it is one of the most popular blends in the world. However, the growing conditions required for such a blend are extremely uncommon north of the 49th parallel and the challenges in creating this wine were a feat in Canadian winemaking.

With the 2022 vintage of this GSM, Hester Creek is diversifying the wine portfolio by adding a medium-bodied red wine to the lineup. This is a wine that will appeal to those who have an appreciation for high-quality red wines, but it will also have an element of approachability that will make it an elegant and food-friendly option for those who are looking for a wine that will present well on a variety of occasions.

With grapes sourced from the warmest vineyard site in Canada, our blend is made up of 45% Grenache, 38% Syrah and 17% Mourvèdre. Typical to the southern Rhône Valley, it is rare to find a GSM in Canada, and Hester Creek has become the largest producer of a GSM in the country.

Rhone Valley GSM

45%

– High fruit, medium body, tannin, acidity and medium plus alcohol
– Thin-skinned red variety
– Good acid and tannin structure
– Fruit-forward and floral
– Long finish

38%

– High fruit, full body, medium tannin and medium plus acidity, alcohol
– Dark red variety
– Bold and savoury
– Full bodied
– Pairs well with strong cheeses and smoky/meaty flavours

17%

– Medium plus fruit, full body, high tannin, medium plus acidity, alcohol
– Thick-skinned red variety
– Grows best in hot, dry climates with lots of sunlight
– Adds tannin, body and colour to a blend
– Bold and powerful

The warmest vineyard site in Canada is located on the east side of Osoyoos Lake, making it premium terroir for cultivating select red grapes. It is uncommon to see varietals like Grenache and Mourvèdre in the Okanagan Valley as they require specific growing conditions that are extremely rare in Canada. However, this site gives those grapes exactly what they need in order to thrive.

“You need heat, and you need to be able to control the growth of the vines because all of those varieties are vigorous. The attributes of Vineyard Eleven relate exactly to those variables and while there might be other micro-climates suited to them, they may not consistently ripen every year. I like stacking all the odds in our favour – which is why we got the warmest site for those specific grapes.”

-Mark Sheridan, President, Hester Creek Estate Winery

Aspect
The south-west facing slopes allow for a higher number of Growing Degree Days with hotter afternoons and warm evenings. Additionally, our latitude at the 49th parallel means that the vineyard enjoys more hours of sunshine than several other wine regions around the world.

Soil
The soil is entirely sand. This means that we can dry out the soils completely to manipulate the vines and control the size of the berries using deficit irrigation. Less water produces small and intensely concentrated grapes.

Osoyoos Lake
Vineyard Eleven slopes down to the shores of Osoyoos Lake, a large body of water and the warmest lake in Canada. The lake heats up during the long summer days and releases that heat in the evenings, keeping the vineyard warmer than surrounding lands.

These three elements come together to make this site an 11/10 for quality vineyard locations in Canada – hence the name, Vineyard Eleven.

Vineyard Eleven is managed by long-time Hester Creek Vineyard Manager, Iqbal Gill, in collaboration with Kismet Estate Winery’s Sukhi and Balwinder Dhaliwal – all three of which are renowned grape growers in the South Okanagan. This partnership arises from the shared belief that excellent wine comes from outstanding fruit, and it is thanks to their attention to the terroir and stewardship of the land that we were able to plant, grow and harvest the best grapes for outstanding wines.

On this vineyard, Hester Creek President and viticulturist, Mark Sheridan, saw that the site was perfectly suited to growing big, red varietals and made the decision to plant grapes like Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese (stay tuned for a Super Tuscan by Hester Creek coming out in 2025). In 2022, the South Okanagan experienced one of the best growing seasons on record and it was then that we harvested the grapes for our very first GSM.

All Canadian Wine Championships:

Double Gold

BC Wine Awards:

Top 50: 93 points

Julian Park, BC Wine Trends:

“The GSM is a deep, ruby-red colour. It has a graceful aroma of plum, cherries, and chocolate. Elegantly and perfectly balanced, the medium-bodied wine reveals layers of ripe raspberry, plum, and cherry flavours with fine tannins, floral notes, and a hint of pepper. The finish is very long and harmonious. It’s a very sophisticated wine that can be cellared for 7+ years. 92+ points.”

Jennifer Havers, Natalie MacLean:

“This GSM blend is made from 45% Grenache, 38% Syrah, and 17% Mourvedre. Aromas of rapsberry and red plums, with notes of sous bois, smoke, and a slight floral hint. Medium bodied with bright acidity on the palate, and soft, slightly drying tannins on the palate. Fruit and berry notes are bright and fresh, with more earthy and spicy notes on the finish. Enjoy with robust meat or mushroom dishes.” 90 points

Deborah Podurgiel, Natalie MacLean:

“The inaugural vintage of Hester Creek Estate Winery’s GSM (2022) is an absolutely superb and beautifully balanced blend of 45% Grenache, 38% Syrah (2% co-ferment Viognier) and 17% Mourvèdre with grapes sourced from beautiful B.C.’s Okanagan Valley. Dry, fruity, medium-plus-bodied, velvety and fresh with juicy raspberry, bright cherry, fresh plum, pink florals and a kiss of white pepper spice nuanced and mouth-filling, it is a serious GSM and was a perfect pairing to chicken parmesan and pesto bucatini!” 92 points

Vitis Magazine:

“The wine is balanced, finessed and exhibits a seamless integration of fruit, tannins and acidity—a testament to the expertise and passion of the team at Hester Creek Estate Winery.”

Nicole MacKay, WineRoutes:

“Laser-focused red fruit is on display in Hester Creek’s 2022 GSM. From only two-year-old vines, it’s light and offers notes of savoury spice and smoke with nicely accentuated acidity and moderate tannins. ”

Barb Wild, Good Wine Gal:

“The ruby hue is classic, the sensory profile is full of attitude red, black and blue fruits with a floral backdrop and peppery spice and the dry, textured finish. Its a nod to expertise and a great vintage.”

Steve MacNaull, NowMedia:

“The GSM made its grand entrance with the second course of a gourmet dinner in the big demonstration kitchen at Hester Creek’s Wine Shop. Served alongside seared duck breast with wild rice and cherries fig jus, the GSM shone.”

The 2022 harvest season in the South Okanagan was one of the warmest and longest on record. Due to the incredible growing season, not only did the vineyards yield a larger-than-average crop, but it was one of the best seasons for quality as well. The grapes for the GSM were harvested by hand in late October and into the middle of November. They were then hand sorted, and destemmed and each varietal was fermented separately for an average of 27 days in our Italian Ganimede fermentation tanks. After fermentation, the wine was barreled down and encouraged through a malolactic fermentation for an additional three weeks. The wine was aged for 14 months in exclusively French oak barrels to maintain the primary expression of the terroir from where the grapes came.

Fruit-driven notes of raspberry, red plum and ripe Bing cherry are softened with a balanced touch of florals and pepper. The 2022 GSM is medium-plus in body and tannin making it diverse food wine, made to pair with ingredients such as duck, cranberries, goat cheese, tart raspberries and warm, savoury herbs like thyme and sage. Given the natural smoothness of this wine, it can be enjoyed young, but as it was bottled under cork, it can be aged over the next five to seven years wherein it will develop a deeper earthiness.

The 2022 GSM will be released on Wednesday, June 5th. There are a number of events and offers through June and July that you are welcome to enjoy!

June 4th   
~Estate Lunch – featuring the GSM
SOLD OUT

June 5th
~GSM Release Date

June 5th – 9th
~Visit the wine shop for a ballot to enter to win a prize pack.
(No purchase necessary)
~GSM is available to enjoy at Terrafina by the glass.

June 5th – 19th
~Complimentary shipping for orders of 12 or more. (Mix and match)
ORDER WINE HERE

June 8th
~Estate Dinner – featuring the GSM
SOLD OUT

June 13th and July 11th
~GSM is featured in for all our After Hour Happy Hour guests
TICKETS HERE

July 19th
~Rhône Wine Tasting events at 1:30 and 3:30 – featuring the GSM
DETAILS TO COME

July 20th
~Mocking Shadows concert – featuring the GSM
TICKETS HERE

All Summer
~GSM will be featured in our wine flights in the wine shop, offered Monday-Friday