What is Gewurztraminer?
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The pilot announces overhead that the city of Strasbourg is nearing and to refasten the seatbelts. Looking out to the south, the Alps kiss the sky, and one could almost see the small mountain town of Termeno, Italy.
To the southeast and east are the Swiss Alps, whose slopes gradually make their way to the Rhine Valley, and there we see the Rhin River that borders Germany and France.
As the plane descends for landing, you may ask, why are we here? To answer a few questions about a local wine that has become a legend amongst wines.
What is Gewürztraminer?
As with many white wines, Gewürztraminer is a grape accustomed to cooler climates, such as France, Germany, and Northern Italy.
This wine has a dry, semi-sweet, and sweet style, depending on the harvest time. Earlier harvest yields dryer wines, while late-season harvest produces the semi to sweet varieties.
Gewürztraminer, from the western borders of France, is known to have lychee flavors that sweeten this ancient vintage. At 12 to 15 percent alcohol by volume, this wine is the mature cousin of the Moscato.
Think of it like this, Moscato d’Asti is for a fun nightclub crowd, while this vintage is for the more mature audiences and events.
The word Gewürztraminer breaks down into the German word for spice, Gewürz, and the Italian root Traminer, which relays the lineage of the grape.
Traminer refers to the small town in Northern Italy, Tramin (AKA Termeno), amongst the Dolomite mountains of the High Alps ranges in Central Europe.
What makes Gewürztraminer different from other wines?
The significant difference between this white wine is the use of lychee. This tiny fruit is found on the tall evergreen trees, native to China, and brought to the region of Alsace.
Local French vineyards in the region utilize this soapberry’s unique properties to add a pleasant fragrance and sweet taste.
Lychee also is known to:
- Help prevent cancer
- Help with anemia
- Help increase one’s metabolism
- Improve a person’s immunity system
- Strengthen their bones
- Prevent certain forms of cardiovascular disease
- Helping in weight loss.
How would you describe Gewürztraminer?
Gewürztraminer is a mature version of a Moscato in that it has a higher ABV and is not a modern mix drink favorite.
The wines from Alsace have a smokiness with notes of rose petals and grapefruit, and the wine consumer can even enjoy pineapple-like aromas from a bottle.
The acidity levels are in the lower to medium range with styles from early harvest with a certain dryness to the late harvest season wines with an intense sweetness.
What are the different types of Gewürztraminer?
There, relative to other white wines, are not many variations of Gewürztraminer. Basically, for every vine of Gewürztraminer, there are four vines of Riesling and two and a half dozen vines of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Besides the quarter of the world’s Gewürztraminer grown in Alsace, other notable regions known for producing this pink grape are:
- New Zealand
- The United States of America.
Who typically likes to drink Gewürztraminer?
This white wine is for the casual and complex oenologist. Serve chilled for a nice after-dinner treat to help relax and wind down for the evening. Consider a dessert if the mood calls for it.
This wine is not the gulp down type, such as a bubbly Moscato d’Asti, and is generally for the more mature audience.
This wine is enjoyed on formal occasions, at home for the sommelier in the family, experts, and newbies alike.
Final thoughts on Gewürztraminer
This white wine is a mature relative of the Moscato and is an ancient vine grown from the Traminer family tree.
This wine has a unique bouquet and flavor palate centered on the lychee berry. With an ABV of twelve to fifteen percent, this wine is perfect for the single glass to relax with and enjoy the moment.