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The Cellar: The Wonders of Gewürz

Friday, May 09, 2014


One of my favorite grape varieties is the widely underappreciated and often misunderstood pink-skinned Gewürztraminer. Gewürz, as is it called in wine circles, is one of the more distinct members of the Vinifera grape family making it relatively easy to identify in a blind tasting. Rarely blended, Gewürz makes medium to full bodied wines, often deeply colored and always very aromatic. It is because of this ‘richness’, which can be cloying in lesser quality Gewürztraminers that often displays a heavy dose of residual sugar as well - that Gewürz is often sidelined. (I am sure that the difficulties that many people have pronouncing its name isn’t helpful either.)

Gewürztraminer Wine Guide

Gewürz has an interesting history. DNA testing has shown that Gewürztraminer was ‘created’ as a result of a natural mutation that occurred around 1000AD between the grape varieties Traminer and Pinot. Named partially after the north Italian village of Tramin in Alto Adige where this took place, Gewürztraminer is also planted in Austria, Germany and in the northeastern French wine region of Alsace where some of the most highly prized and sought-after examples are produced.

The key to a good Gewürztraminer, in my opinion, is being able to keep it under control; i.e. keeping the wine dry and preserving the all important acidity. This is why I prefer and recommend Gewürztraminers from cooler regions such as this week’s feature wine from Alto Adige. Elena Walch’s wines are absolutely fantastic - available locally and very reasonably priced. Hot off the bottling line their 2013 Gewürztraminer is absolutely stunning filled with aromatic flowers and tropical stone fruits such as lychee and ripe peaches. This wine also has a healthy dose of spices adding to the complexity. There is a lot going on but its dry and crisp frame keeps everything in line. (The 2012 vintage is fantastic as well)


Wine Tasting

As of today there are still a few tickets left for next Fridays wine tasting at the Providence Wine Academy featuring, among other varieties, the wonderful Gewürztraminer. Among the wines sampled will be a single vineyard Gewürz from Elena Walch; their 2012 Estate ‘Kastelaz Vineyard’ Gewürztraminer. Don’t miss out! Well structured Gewürztraminers have serious aging potential. To highlight this capability (as well as a wine from Alsace), participants will also be sampling Domaine Schlumberger’s ‘Les Princes Abbes’ Gewürztraminer – the ’08 vintage. So purchase you ticket or head to your local wineshop and ask for a cool climate Gewürz – you won’t be disappointed



Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Feel free to email him at [email protected] with any wine-related question or learn about wine in person by signing up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy .


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