The astute amongst you, dear readers, may have noticed that I now have an “Ask Me About Wine” area of my website. Send me your questions! Hot date with your cutie and you wonder what bottle to pair with your famous lasagna for ultimate effect? Going to a particular restaurant for your favorite meal and want to make it even more fabulous with the right wine? Received a gift from your staff and you’re not sure if they love you or hate you? Ask me anything about wine and I shall do my best to get you quick, correct, and clever responses. Go on. Ask. You know you want to.
First question: Gewürztraminer
I am celebrating my last night in my summer place with my roommate and a bottle of Gewürztraminer. I think it’s my new favourite wine, but I don’t know anything about it. Could you tell me a bit about what distinguishes a Gewürztraminer from other whites?
Well, JP, you are the lucky one! A summer place and a bottle of Gewürz is a match made in heaven. I hope that you’ve been drinking this gorgeous wine all summer long.
Gewürztraminer is an easy grape to love. In a sommelier’s journey, it’s one of the wines you get to know first, since it is easily distinguishable from other white wines. How?
By sight: Gewürztraminer is a bit heavier in weight, often quite unctuous, even oily. It can also feature more residual sugar than many wines. This leads to thicker tears when the wine is swirled in the glass. And the colour is rich yellow gold – very bold. For classic Alsatian Gewürztraminers, there can be a somewhat pinkish hue.
By smell: Heaven. Rose petals and lychees combine in a bouquet that once memorized, is forever after identifiable in a quick whiff. One of my classmates always said it smells like Turkish Delight to him (the real thing is actually made from rose petal jelly, so that makes perfect sense). Citrus and tropical fruit can also feature. When it’s not vinified to dryness, you’ll also get honey aromas, too.
By taste: Gewürztraminer is naturally low in acid, and so it is a full bodied wine. Most are off dry. You’ll typically get the same flavours as you enjoyed on the nose.
To pair with: You didn’t mention if your celebration includes food or not, but if it does, then bring on the curry! Spicy Asian noodle dishes, Indian take out, or anything else spicy and exotic would match well with a Gewürztraminer. The combination of the two serves to highlight the deliciousness of each. One plus one equals three. Yum!
To sample: My favourite new wine this summer has been Sumac Ridge’s Sparkling Gewürztraminer. It’s the first time the winery has made it – an experiment of only a few hundred cases. Last time I checked they were almost sold out! Buy one if you can find it. It’s summer in a glass – a froth of roses that’s the perfect start to any celebration on a warm day.
You may also like: If you like the lovely perfumed Gewürztraminer, try other bottles of it from different regions. The classics are from Alsace and Germany, but other cool climate regions are also doing it beautifully (BC, Chile, New Zealand, Oregon). You can branch out to other wines, too. Viognier has a similar weight to it, and when done well, it is another highly aromatic wine that’s easy to find these days. Muscat, including Moscato d’Asti, may also appeal.
Enjoy your celebration!