Gewurztraminer is a unique white wine varietal that is cherished by wine enthusiasts all over the world. Known for its intense floral aromas and different styles, this aromatic grape is the perfect addition to any wine collection. Below, we unveil the mystery of the gewurztraminer grape including its origin, tasting notes, and more.
Origins of Gewurztraminer: A Noble Alsace Grape
While many researchers are unsure of the exact origins of the gewurztraminer grape, Alsace is this grape varietal’s spiritual home. This pink-skinned grape produces an aromatic wine made in various styles, from dry to sweet.
Located along the French border with Germany, it is believed that this grape varietal was first introduced to Alsace from the Pfalz region in western Germany. Due to Alsace’s rich clay soils and dry climate, winemakers were able to produce full-bodied Gewurztraminer wines. To this day, Alsace is one of the primary regions that grow this grape varietal.
One reason why the origins of this grape is so hard to determine is the fact that its parentage is somewhat of a mystery. Modern grape vine specialists believe that gewurztraminer is one of many mutations of the ancient savagnin-traminer group, the parent of sauvignon blanc.
In fact, the English translation of gewurztraminer is “spicy traminer”. It is thought that the traminer grape mutated into Roter Traminer (a reddish grape often used in rosés) and then mutated again resulting in Gewurztraminer.
Due to its distinctive character, this grape is generally used in varietal wine rather than blended with other grape varietals. However, in Alsace, it can often be blended with either riesling or pinot gris to produce a field blend.
Gewurztraminer Wine: Tasting Notes
Famous for its aromas and flavour profile, Gewurztraminer wine certainly leaves an impression on every wine taster. Its powerfully perfumey aromas make it instantly recognizable in blind taste tests. While it won’t be to everyone’s taste, this full-bodied white wine makes for a truly interesting wine tasting experience.
This wine’s primary aromas are intensely tropical and floral in nature. The first aroma that many will discern is that of lychee (considered as one of Gewurztraminer’s ‘tells’). However, you will also be able to find secondary aromas such as:
- Rose petal
- Red grapefruit
- Burnt Incense
On the palate, you can expect to observe moderate acidity and elevated alcohol levels. Alsace AOC Gewurztraminer wines are typically either off-dry or semi-sweet and medium-bodied. While other expressions are known for full-bodied Gewurztraminer wines that have strong fruit notes (stonefruit such as peach and apricot) and spice (cinnamon and ginger). Upon finishing, expect a bitter and oily finish on the palate.
Due to its intense aromatics and low acidity, many wine lovers find that it doesn’t have enough substance to balance out its aroma profile. Having said that, it is not a wine to be completely dismissed either. In our opinion, we think it would make an ideal addition to any enthusiast’s wine collection.
Best Gewurztraminer Food Pairing Recipes
Due to this wine’s low acidity and sweetness levels, it offers endless food pairing possibilities. When searching for Gewurztraminer food pairing recipes, it is best to think exotic. A drier style of Gewurztraminer from California makes for the perfect accompaniment to tone down spicy dishes such as tandoori chicken or beef satay.
The bold flavours and exotic spices of a Moroccan lamb and apricot tagine are also another great food pairing option. The roasted meat, dried fruits, and nuts make a perfect contrast between the spiciness of the dish and the sweetness of the wine.
For desserts, we recommend going for a sweeter style of Gewurztraminer – this works well as a dessert wine. Consider matching the spice notes of ginger and cinnamon with an apple strudel or pumpkin pie. If you are looking to highlight the floral characteristics of this white wine, consider Turkish delight or baklava that is scented with rosewater.
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Regardless of whether you are looking to discover a new white grape varietal or are looking for recommendations for an upcoming dinner party, our team of online wine agents will be more than happy to provide you with our personal recommendations. For more information, get in touch with us today at (416-463-7178).