Gewürztraminer – how to describe this wine… Flamboyant as a 16-year-old girl dolled up for a Madonna concert circa 1985. As that can be a bit much for many people, gewürztraminer has had a rough history with trying to gain fans. As the official grape varietal responsible for making me fall in love with wine several years ago, I am one of those who have learned to embrace its beauty.
Producing deep golden colored wines with undeniably pungent aromatics, this easily mutated pink skinned grape has a knotty history with strong speculation of it being synonymous with Savagnin Rose. As it is believed that Traminer originated in the village of Tramin in Alto Adige of Italy, gewürztraminer can now be found sporadically throughout both hemispheres. Amongst these areas are Alsace in France, Germany, Austria, California & the Pacific Northwest, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and of course, Italy.
Although both the Old World and New World have produced these wines successfully, the slight differences in style can still be fairly distinguishable. Having recently tasted a New World and an Old World gewürztraminer, both with a bit of age on them, here were my thoughts on how they compare.
2001 Corison Gewürztraminer Corazón – Anderson Valley, California
Another splendid creation from the Anderson Valley, this gewürztraminer is still kicking with its clever acidity and exotic aromas of fresh tropical fruit and honeysuckle. On the palate this wine expresses the classic sweet and spicy combo of tangerine, lychee, ginger, nutmeg, white pepper, salty minerality, and a zesty bell pepper finish.
1998 Domaine Weinbach Gewürztraminer Altenbourg Vendanges Tardives – Alsace, France
Alsace satisfies yet again with this mature golden hued wine and its perfume of fresh cut pineapple, lychee, orange marmalade and jasmine. Both herbal and luscious like a sweetened tea, this wine further mesmerizes my palate with honeycomb, green cardamom, cumin, white pepper, pine needles, tree sap, spicy minerality, and flirty acidity that leaves me wanting more.