If you are in search of a sweet, aromatic white wine that will satisfy your sensitive palate, go for Gewurztraminer wine. This wine was born in the Alsace region of France, and it smells like the lychee fruit. So, if someone asked you have you tasted Gewurztraminer and asked you to describe it, you can always say it smells like lychee – you will never go wrong!
Because of its smell and flavor, Gewurztraminer is a popular drinking partner to spicy Asian food, or you can drink it on its own. This drink is considered semi-dry, so it is a bit sweet, but with less alcohol content as compared to other wine – when it comes to alcohol content and “quaffability”, it is best compared with Moscato.
If you are prone to wine headaches, it is suggested that you take only a glass or two of Gewurztraminer as its sweet taste can cause a headache after drinking a few glasses and even cause migraines in some wine drinkers!
Gewurztraminer’s Regional Origin
The best tasting Gewurztraminer wines are found in Germany and Alsace. For those who are wondering what the meaning of Gewurztraminer is, the root word is Gewurz, and it is a German term for spice – this gives you an idea as to what to expect if you smell this zesty, white wine!
The grape grows best in colder areas and has a pink color. Gewurztraminer drink takes this rich, pink, grape skin and turns it into golden colored wine – the beauty of winemaking!
Germany and Alsace remain the popular producer of Gewurztraminer, but other countries like Austria and some parts in the USA like Oregon, California, and Washington manufacture it as well.
What Gewurztraminer Wine Tastes Like?
If this is the first time you will be tasting Gewurztraminer, you will surely have a hard time describing its aroma (hint: lychees!). It has complex aromas, ranging from rose to tropical fruits and apricot kernel, along with sweet spices and pepper. Honey and dried fruits also appear when there is noble rot.
The ordinary Gewurz wine that originates from AC Alsace is most of the time medium bodied and either semi-sweet or off-dry. Even if these wines are simple, they still present typicity, with spicy fruit and a bitter finish. This wine is transparent to its terroir and shows the nature where it originates, with some Alsatian grand crus providing Gewurztraminer a chance to display these unique traits.
Marly limestone terroirs like Grands crus Hengst, Mambourg, Marckrain or Florimont produce rich, spicy and deep wines with an impressive acid backbone. Sandstone or granite terroirs like Grands crus Kessler and Brand, or quartz soils such as Fronholz in Epfig can make elegant and aromatic wines with lots of fruit.
Limestone terroirs, like Grand Cru Furstentum, Zinnkoepfle and Osterberg will create full-bodied wines with powerful fruit and good acidity.
Flavor profile of Gewurztraminer Wine
Gewurz is a fragrant wine. The smell of rose petals, spice and of course lychee are up front. The pink grape varieties are popular for their aromatic qualities. Once you taste it, there will be notes of lychee, stone fruit and orange, heading towards pineapple with some ripening of the grapes.
Gewurztraminer Food Pairing
Gewurztraminer wine is a perfect pair for food! The drier variation of this wine are perfect together with spicy food from North Africa, Latin America, Asia or India and can be an excellent substitute for silky and rich reds. The stronger and sweeter wines can be paired with rich and flavorsome dishes such as curry, tagine or lobster bisque.
For any type of Gewurztraminer, you can serve it together with cheese, however, the classic Alsatian Munster works perfectly with Gouda, Roquefort or Stilton, or in some situations, you can serve it alongside Port.
Sweeter wines can be served along with desserts such as fruit tarts but will taste great with foods that contain cinnamon, dried fruits, and dried nuts.
What’s next for Gewurztraminer?
The difficulties involving the Traminer grape varietal and several other names makes it hard to market when wine enthusiasts are looking for one and end up buying the other. The best way to identify Gewurztraminer, Savagnin or Traminer may mean more education of the public and changing label for wines. But, with the wine industry continuing to create tastes beyond big red wines and white wines, more opportunities may lead to looking for complexity and balance in their wines.
On your quest to rediscover Gewurztraminer, start with the drier variations before getting into the more juicy ones – and 2014 is the best vintage to do so, specifically from the terroir-driven Grands Crus. If you can, you can save some of the best bottles for 15 to 20 years. Your long wait will be rewarded with incredible complexity and great tasting Gewurztraminer wine!