Andrew Rich Wines 2016 “Little Table” GSM

Bringing the Rhône to Oregon

When professional athletes are washed up, they wind up on ESPN talking about their sport. For Andrew Rich, his path to winemaker went the other way – he was the well-respected editor of a wine column for a national magazine when he decided to give it all up and enroll in a winemaking school in Burgundy. Before long, he was in love with the wines of the Rhône valley just to the south – Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Roussanne, Viognier, and the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape blends.

Back in the US, Andrew landed a job with quirky California winery Bonny Doon – also famed for its Rhône-style varietals. After five years, looking to start his own label, he accepted an invitation from an Oregonian who was at that same French wine school.

In Oregon, Andrew discovered something extraordinary – not only is the Willamette Valley a great winemaking region, it was also within a three-hour drive to Rhône varietals in the Columbia Valley.

Before long, Andrew was making a name for himself – as the first in the Willamette Valley to bring in Grenache and those Rhône grapes. Two decades later, he’s a star in the Oregon wine world.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Andrew Rich Wines, Carlton, Oregon
2016 “Little Table” GSM

Ah, the GSM. Those magical three letters invite you to take a trip to the south of France. Red wines of the Côtes du Rhône may legally include up to 22 different grape varietals, but you’ll almost always find Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre leading the way. Why those three? Well, Grenache provides the fruit, Syrah provides structure and spice, and Mourvèdre balances it all with tart acidity.

Andrew Rich still adheres to the old-school winemaking techniques that he learned in France – whole clusters of grapes, no additives, and leaving wine to age for 18-20 months in mostly neutral barrels. This is original, European style winemaking at its best. Asked what new techniques he was experimenting with, he answered: “New techniques? Pfft.”

Consider this: At Thanksgiving, everyone loves the cranberry sauce. Why? Because it brings the tartness and sweetness to the party – contrasting nicely with gravy, butter, and meat. Well, this lovely GSM will play the same part at your holiday table. With 39% Syrah, 33% Grenache, and 28% Mourvèdre, this “Little Table” edition leads with spice and pepper and brings in tart cherries and rich red berries to balance your meal.

A Cellar 503 selection in December 2018, Winter Warmers Columbia Valley | Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah

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