A Proper Introduction To Gewurztraminer Wine
It's time we broaden our white wine horizons and learn about something other than the Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs. Today, we'll learn about the complexity behind Gewurztraminer wine.
And the first thing we'll learn is how it's pronounced.
Gewürztraminer is certainly a mouthful and looks intimidating, but it's not as hard as you think. If you ask your handy dictionary how to pronounce Gewürztraminer, it'll give you something like this, ɡəˈvo͝ortstrəˌmēnər. I didn't find that very helpful, but you might find this little trick to be helpful. It's just the w that throws things off. If you swap the w for a v, you'll have the pronunciation down. The way it's pronounced is guhvurtstruhmeenr. If you say it aloud a few times slowly, you'll have it down quickly.
The literal translation of Gewürztraminer is "Spiced Traminer." It can also translate to "Perfumed Traminer." In German, gewurz translates to spiced or seasoned. In English, traminer literally translates to a white grape variety that primarily grows in Germany and Alsace, France. Put it all together, and you get a spiced, seasoned, and perfumed white grape variety.
What Makes Wines Different?
If you've been keeping up with the Liquorama Blog Posts, you'll know that there is so much complexity that dictates the characteristics of a wine. So many things need to be considered to ensure a wine's quality and taste. If you have two bottles of Gewürztraminer wine, they're bound to taste differently. Every shift and difference is another quality you can taste in the wine. Every factor changes the qualities of the wine you're having.
Where does the wine originate? Where is the wine primarily made? What climate does it thrive in? What varietals are present? Is it a blend? How is it aged? What are the prominent flavors? Is it overly acidic or dry? Is it sweet?
And all of these will lead to a fundamental question, what are the best food pairings?
You get the picture! Let's answer some questions!
The Gewürztraminer Basics
Gewürztraminer Wine falls into the white wine category and doesn't seem to get the recognition it deserves regarding white wines. Gewürztraminer is one of the 18 noble grapes. It's usually exotic, dry, and highly aromatic. Many say that the wine smells a lot sweeter than it tastes. Although, it can be semi-sweet! You can expect some tropical fruit flavors, including lychee, pineapple, grapefruit, and many others.
Usually, Gewürztraminer wine has a higher alcohol content and lower acidity levels.
The origin of Gewürztraminer is not 100% known. There are theories, and this happens to be one of them.
It seems like where the grape variety originated is up in the air. Although many associate Gewürztraminer with Alsace, France, and even Germany, it's said that Gewürztraminer originated in Tramin in Northern Italy and even got its name from the city. The grape variety dates back centuries, and there are many claims that it dates back to the 1400s. Although there are many theories about how old the variety is or where it comes from, it is without a doubt that we can place the specific grape variety in that overall region.
We'll never know for sure, but we can certainly place it in that region.
Alsace, a northeastern region of France, is the top producer of Gewürztraminer wine. It borders Germany and Switzerland. Since control has alternated between Germany and France, Alsace has a blend of both cultures. Alsace is famous for its white wines, as well as its Christmas markets and history.
Alsace has become widely known and famous for its Gewürztraminer, but that's not the only wine that Alsace is known for. Alsace also produces some of the most exceptional Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Riesling.
The climate in Alsace works very well for the Gewürztraminer varietal because it can't thrive in an overly hot climate. It needs a relatively cool and moderate climate to flourish.
Many of the popular Gewürztraminer wine options mentioned below come from the renowned Alsace, France. In fact, Alsace, France is home to 51 Grand Cru Vineyards.
Apart from Alsace, France, other top producing countries include the United States, Germany, Italy, Hungary, New Zealand, Australia, and many others. Gewürztraminer has no problem thriving outside of Alsace; however, the climate needs to be cooler generally.
What Are Grand Cru Vineyards & Wines?
What does "Grand Cru" refer to? "Grand Cru" refers to the bottle of wine or the vineyard. Usually, this refers to French wine that comes from the Grand Cru appellation. You can expect quality, superior wine when you see a bottle with "Grand Cru" on it.
Alsace sets the bar for Gewürztraminer wine at a Grand Cru level.
If you're looking for an overly sweet wine, I don't think the Gewürztraminer is for you! But if you're looking to broaden your horizons in the wine world, it very well might be!
As I mentioned before, Gewürztraminer is highly aromatic. The flavors and aromas jump out of the glass. Alongside the common tropical fruits, you'll often also notice melon, ginger, peach, and even apricot flavors. The aromas change depending on the brand and the wine's origin. Gewürztraminer is commonly known to be dry and subtly sweet.
Overall, it's a bold choice of wine that's flavors play very well with different types of food pairings.
Gewürztraminer Wine Options
Now that we have a pretty basic understanding of what makes up Gewürztraminer wine, let's get to know a few options! Here are six options from different origins, France, the United States, and I had to include Germany!
Kicking things off, we have Trimbach Wines. Trimbach has been in the wine game since 1626, and they're still going strong. In fact, Trimbach Wines remains in the family to this day. Pierre and Jean Trimbach, the 12th generation, are managing the estate and continuing with the family legacy. So, if you're looking to grab a bottle, you'll be in good hands with Trimbach.
Trimbach carries quite the selection of wines, and among them, we have the Trimbach Gewürztraminer. From the appellation of Alsace Contrôlée, the Trimbach Gewürztraminer is deliciously aromatic with notes of lychee, rose, and citrus fruits. Aged for three years, it's dry but balanced, resulting in a fresh finish.
Are you looking for a food pairing? The Trimbach Gewürztraminer pairs great with spicier foods with loads of flavors. Try a bottle with your favorite Chinese or Thai dishes!
Like the Trimbach family, the Hugel family has been in wine-making for quite some time. The Hugel family has been making wines in Alsace, France, since 1639. They've built their reputation in the wine industry. They're known for their attention to detail and skill in maintaining and managing the vineyards. The goal for the family is to continue creating quality wines while making Alsace the face of white wine in the twenty-first century. That's quite the goal.
Hugel's Gewürztraminer wine is very popular among their line of wines. The Hugel Gewürztraminer Classic Alsace 2017 came after a rough year that ultimately made produced something spectacular. It's dry, powerfully aromatic, and subtly sweet. It has the floral aromas of rose and jasmine. It has spicy notes of ginger and cardamom. Finally, it's fruity with notes of passionfruit and mango. And what happens when you put all those notes together? You get something elegant, sophisticated, and balanced.
The Hugel Gewürztraminer also pairs nicely with spicier foods and strong cheese and smoked salmon.
The Sparr family began their wine-making journey in 1680. Nine generations later, the Spar family still runs the estate and creates a quality line of wines. The estate resides in Alsace, France, the heart of wine-making.
The Pierre Sparr Gewürztraminer is intense with tropical fruit flavors and hints of floral notes. It's rich and inviting. The wine pairs well with spicy food but also pairs great with dessert! As far as dessert wines go, the Pierre Sparr Gewürztraminer is a winner.
Since 1858, the Gundlach Bundschu estate has been nestled in Sonoma, California, past San Francisco, and surrounded by Carneros to one side and Napa Valley to the other. Rhinefarm sits on 320 acres of land and remains sustainably hand-farmed. The Gundlach Bundschu Gewürztraminer grows on sloped terrain where the focus is acidity. Let's see what this California Gewürztraminer measures up to the Alsace natives.
Gundlach Bundschu's Gewürztraminer is dry in nature, full-bodied, and naturally exudes more acidity than you might expect. The Gewürztraminer grows on vines that Jacob Gundlach brought from his homeland back in the 1800s. If you tend to sway away from sweet wines, this Gewürztraminer will be right up your alley. It's dry, bone-dry, and bursting with the tart flavors of green apple and citrus. Although it may not be sweet, it does have underlying flavors of lychee and rosewater. Crisp and unique, Gundlach Bundschu is definitely the brand to try for all the extra-dry wine lovers!
This option pairs well with the charcuterie boards, cured meats, and anything from Indian food to your breakfast!
The Hofstatter winery was founded in 1907. In 1992, Martin Foradori Hofstätter took over the operation with his wife. Thanks to Martin, the winery has expanded exponentially.
J. Hofstatter Kolbenhof Gewurztraminer Alto Adige DOC 2016 is a fruitful option that comes from a vineyard in Tramin, Italy. Signature aromas of apricot, peach, lychee, mango, and passionfruit give off an exotic aromatic taste. It's dry, vibrant, and elegant. Pair it with oysters, shellfish, or any Asian food.
This wine is often referred to as "Vigna," guaranteeing its origin is in a single vineyard residing in Alto Adige.
For over 230 years, PJ Valkenberg has been the representation of quality, authentic German wines. PJ Valkenberg comes from the growing region of Palatinate, Germany, and carries a large variety of wine options. One of those happens to be a Gewurztraminer wine! Palatinate is the second largest wine-growing region in all of Germany.
Valckenberg Gewurztraminer is a beautiful blend of both floral and spicy aromas. It's full-bodied with delicious hints of apricot flavor. This German Gewurztraminer pairs delectably with bleu cheeses and desserts! It's an off-dry, light, and sweet option.
How to Serve Gewürztraminer Wine
Now that you have some Gewürztraminer wine recommendations, let's discuss how you will serve it. Gewürztraminer wine is best when chilled. If you want the specifics, different sources say to chill your bottle until it's somewhere between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you're like me, the colder, the better! Put your bottle in your refrigerator or wine cooler.
If you're not finishing off your bottle, be sure to enjoy your bottle within 3 to 5 days from opening.
By now, you know a bit about what Gewürztraminer wine food pairings. Overall, it pairs exceptionally with spicy food, smoked fish, and even desserts. But let's dive a little further and see what else Gewürztraminer pairs well with. If you're having just about any fish, Gewürztraminer wine will be a safe pairing. Fish isn't the only great pairing. Enjoy it alongside duck, chicken, turkey, and foie gras. All in all, if you're throwing it on the grill, it'll probably be a good choice!
Foods with spices like cinnamon, turmeric, and coriander are great options as well.
And we can't forget dessert! Pair your Gewürztraminer wine with a dessert that has spices of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. Fruit pies are also great pairings because they play well together with the fruity aromatics of the Gewürztraminer.
Eager for a glass of Gewürztraminer wine? Want a taste of Alsace, France? Or maybe you want a taste of German Gewurztraminer! Get a bottle delivered right to your door with Liquorama. Our store website has a wide selection of options but doesn't stop there. Check out our selection of other wines, beer, and spirits!