Gewurztraminer Wine Guide
If we had to describe Gewurztraminer with one word, it would be sumptuous. It’s shiny, full of exotic tastes, flamboyant in the mouth, strong, persistent, and full of a pyrotechnic bouquet. But behind this feast, there is a problem common to all aromatic grapes. You will recognize our friend as soon as you bring the glass to your nose. And if you are one of those who like mysterious wines that slowly unveil themselves, well, you should turn to something else…
Gewurztraminer is said to be difficult to pair with food because it is not your typical versatile white wine: it should be acidic with less overpowering aromas.
It is not as soft as Pinot grigio, as pretty as Riesling, or as popular and oak-friendly as Chardonnay.
That is complete nonsense! Gewurztraminer is the right wine to tame food in a way that other white wines can only dream of. Think about truffles, foie gras, and egg dishes.
Where was Gewurztraminer born?
But let’s move on and start from Termeno, Tramin, from which comes Traminer Aromatico: the first reports date back to 1145. This sandy land has discovered the ideal conditions for growth thanks to clay and silt. There is no doubt about the quality of the terroir because the grand cru of Sella’s plateau, which is at a height of 450 meters and is especially good in Mazzon, stands out.
If we broaden our horizons a little, we will notice that the strip of land between Tramin and Appiano is all draped with Gewurztraminer’s vineyards, with outstanding results. Going further north, the Isarco, Venosta, and Adige valleys produce very different wines, but they are not less attractive.
The colder and stonier soils lighten the wine, adding sharpness and a delicious saltiness. Trentino is once again the “golden area.” Between Lavis and Cembra, the best bottles are made, with a style that is smooth and dry.
Suppose we wanted to draw a Gewurztraminer grape variety map.
If that’s the case, we could say that the Termeno’s belt is made up of the most generous, warm wines with strong, spicy aromas and a lot of ripe fruit.
On the contrary, the rocks in both the north and south valleys temper the wines: consistency becomes more subtle, and acidity becomes more biting. The spices fade away to make room for an avalanche of flowers.
Outside of Italy, the Rhine’s wines deserve mention. Alsatian wines have strong, dry, and sharp spices, hints of the tropics, and great acidity.
Those that come from the German side—Wurze (spice), after all, comes from Germany—are less combative, and often you can detect a little bit of sugar, which makes the wine more fluent.
What does Gewurztraminer taste like?
It’s very consistent in the glass, flowing thick with big and slow tears.
The richest, like raisins, are oily and run like syrup. The color is appealing: golden yellow, or golden amber if harvested late.
Sniff the glass, and you will be catapulted into a tropical plantation.
Mango, pineapple, banana, passion fruit, and litchi, but always tenderized by a marinade of rose petals, broom, honey, rosemary, anise, wisteria, sage, and echoed by pepper, cloves, and cinnamon.
Scents of all kinds of apples are a significant trademark of Gewurztraminer.
Other possible clues are peaches, pears, tangerines, oranges, and citrus; sometimes the skin, caramelized or glacé, will pop up.
And the most fascinating is a triad: apricot, raisin, and date mixed in a whirlwind of pleasure. Butter and panettone in the most lustful bottles
If the wine didn’t have the right balance between sharpness and alcohol, it could be flaccid, and all the aromatic seductions would turn into a doughy jumble.
And there is nothing so disappointing as a chalice of regrets.
But don’t worry, you will not forget the satisfaction that this wine can give you, especially if it’s a botrytized Gewurztraminer, which is like liquid gold and can withstand long aging.
How to serve Gewurztraminer
Ginger and wasabi are tricky, but Gewurz has enough fruitiness to stand up to the pairing. The serving temperature for Gewurz is the same as for the other highly fragrant white wines: 10°–12°C, but remember that this is the right wine to experiment with. Try two degrees less to help a low acidity bottle, or two degrees more to boost the scents of a particularly acidic bottle.