Gewurztraminer - Pair With Chinese, Indian and Thai Food

Gewurztraminer, meaning 'spiced or perfumed traminer' is a wine grape variety grown in cooler wine growing areas of the world. Often referred to simply as Gewurtz, the grapes have a pink to red skin colour which produce a white wine with a high natural sugar content. The style of wine made is usually off dry which emphasizes the flavour of exotic fruits.

The Gewurztraminer grape is grown in Alsace in France, as well as in Germany, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. The advantage of any vine grown at altitude is the long slow ripening period which concentrates the sugars without losing much of the valuable acidity. This prolonged ripening process is what gives varieties like Gewurtz their uniqueness.

Like Riesling, Gewurztraminer is a challenging grape variety to grow. It buds early in the spring, so is vulnerable to frost damage, which in turn causes a reduction in yields (though desirable for quality), but can make the wines more expensive. Harvesting at precisely the right time is vital to capture the fresh acidity as well as the luscious flavours. Get this wrong and the typical Gewurtz character of a flamboyant bouquet of lychees, passion fruit and roses will be lost.

Hygiene during winemaking will ensure that some carbon dioxide bubbles from the fermentation may be captured giving the the wine a slight 'spritz' or fizz. This is highly desirable as it gives the wine an attractive, delicate, citrus freshness, which complements the spicy food flavours.

In Alsace, the traditional home of Gewurztraminer, rich foods such as duck, roast goose, onion tart and chicken liver pâté all make the perfect accompaniment to this aromatic wine. But it is with Indian, Chinese and Thai cuisine that Gewurtz has found some perfect matches. The spices in these eastern foods are beautifully balanced by the aromatics and low acidity in this wine, while the underlying sweetness of the fruit softens any heat.

Gewurtztraminer really is the perfect wine to accompany Indian, Thai or Chinese meal. So if you haven't tried it before, next time you have a curry, instead of washing it down with a beer or glass of water, pour out a glass of Gewurtz and see for yourself. You will be surprised by the balance and interaction of flavours.

Rob Hemphill has been a professional winemaker for over 20 years, and is now a freelance marketing writer living in the UK. He specializes in wine consultancy and has a wide knowledge in vines, vineyards and wine growing techniques as well. His favorite varietals are Gewurztraminer and Shiraz.

To learn more about wine, please visit Understanding Wine where you will find a wealth of interesting wine information.


EzineArticle Source: Gewurztraminer, Perfect With Indian, Thai and Chinese Food

By Rob Hemphill

Gewurztraminer - A Spicy Wine and Unruly Vine

Gewurztraminer is one of those vine varieties that is fussy about what soil type it is grown on, it dislikes chalky soils. It is a vigorous vine which needs to be controlled during the growing season as it is susceptible to disease. On top of this it buds early and needs warm, dry summers to avoid an erratic ripening period. So what can be done to tame 'Gewurtz', the spicy grape?

Like many different grape varieties, the ones that present a challenge, whether during their growing or wine making periods or even both, are the ones that can ultimately produce wines with the most character. And what's more any winemaker worth his salt relishes a challenge like that, it is so rewarding to succeed against the odds. The secret with Gewurztraminer is to capture all of those subtle aromas and flavors, lose any of them and the wine will appear dull, flabby and boring.

On top of the demanding growing requirement, Gewurztraminer normally produces high natural sugars which if not balanced with enough acidity will result in sweet, blowsy wines, not what is required. On the other hand if the grape is picked too early with higher acids, then the varietal aromas won't develop, it seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place. That is why Gewurztraminer is such a challenging variety, get the growing part right, harvest it at the optimum time and make it in a clean winemaking environment, then you are onto a winner.

Gewurztraminer is genetically related to the Muscat grape, another variety which has a wealth of strong aromas. Both of these varieties are known for being able to impart their unique flavours into their resultant wines no matter where they are planted.

Alsace is still very much the home of Gewurztraminer where it has been grown for generations. Styles range from the very dry to the very sweet. The variety's high natural sugar level also means that it is perfect for making dessert wine, both late harvest and the noble rot (affected by the botrytis fungus) styles.

Gewurztraminer tasting note examples:

  • The wines are highly aromatic and assertive.

  • The body is of medium to full and very lively.

  • The wine can be anything from a dry to a semi-sweet or dessert style.

  • The flavors can include some of the following: mango, papaya, coconut, apricot, peach, lychee, grapefruit, rosewater, honeysuckle, cloves and fruit salad; while the drier styles contain mineral, earth, pepper or citrus nuances.

  • Has a rich 'oily' mouth feel.

Gewurztraminer food pairings:

  • A crisp dry style can accompany dishes with exotic spices as well as rich poultry dishes, smoked seafood, Foie Gras or soy honey duck.

  • The off dry examples are good with cheeses such as Munster or Roquefort and desserts that are not too sweet.

It is these wonderful exotic flavours that make Gewurztraminer such a unique wine that can be enjoyed with a meal or own its own as an aperitif. Once tasted, not forgotten.

Wine is a fascinating subject, the more you know, the more you want to find out. Learn how to taste and appreciate wine from a winemaker, and pick up much more information from this beginners guide to Understanding Wine.

EzineArticle Source: Gewurztraminer - A Spicy Wine and Unruly Vine

By Rob Hemphill



See Gewurztraminer grapes

This is the most typical Alsatian wine. Gewürz meaning "spicy" in German, and Traminer (the variety originated from Tramin, a small city in south Tyrol of Austria). Gewurztraminer is the name of a grape variety as well as the name of the wine made from it.

It was first grown in Alsace around the 19th century. 20% of the vineyards in the region are planted with this variety, and there is no question that the best results are achieved here as well.

About the wine

Style - The wine is fruity with strong attractive aromas, with an intense perfumed and flowery bouquet. Gewurz is sweeter than Riesling, which is a dry wine; nevertheless, it is rich and has the ability to age.

Food pairing - Gewurztraminer is good with sausages, sauerkraut, the Alsatian cheese Munster, curry seasoned dishes, Chinese, Indian, Thai and Mexican cooking and other spiced dishes. A Gewurztraminer can even be served as a dessert wine.