Wine Profile: Gewürztraminer
First off, let’s get that pronunciation correct: it’s ga-VERTZ-trah-MEE-ner. Gewürztraminer, besides being a fun way to show off your best German accent, is a great wine that has increased in popularity in recent years. Besides Germany, it is grown in Alsace, France, and less notably, in California and Australia.
Gewürztraminer grapes are difficult to grow. They require cold conditions, but can be easily damaged by frost. Gewürztraminer lacks natural defenses against many diseases that attack vines, and is not a very productive grape varietal, producing very small clusters of grapes even when the vines are in peak conditions. The grapes have thick, tough skins which protect extraordinarily high sugar contents. The high sugar content also means that Gewürztraminer grapes can be made into very successful dessert wines. In dry Gewürztraminers, this can translate to very high alcohol contents.
The Gewürztraminer grape makes an aromatic and pungent wine. Gewürztraminer means “spice grape,” and it’s true to its name, an exceptionall full-flavored wine that can include tastes of pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. It is extremely full-bodied, especially for a white wine. It has a strong aroma with identifiable tastes of lychee, an Asian seed that is sweet and nut-like or fruit-like in character. Gewürztraminers taste of lychee because the two share many of the same aroma compounds. Gewürztraminers that fall on the drier side may have a bouquet that includes passion fruit, roses, and flowers.
Gewürztraminer pairs well with fruits and cheeses, especially Münster. It has a rich, oily character that complements game and other oily meats, such as smoked salmon. It is one of the few wines that pairs exceptionally well with Asian food, especially dishes with curry, Chinese five spice, or capasicin (hot pepper).
Don’t be intimidated by the name–try this excellent, fulll-bodied white wine soon!