One of the wine world’s most exotic grape varieties and included in the 18 Classic Noble grapes, Gewürztraminer is often described as having characters of rose petals, lychees and Turkish delight.
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Origins of Gewürztraminer
Gewürztraminer is an aromatic white grape that is recognisable by its heady, aromatic scent. Gewürztraminer has a thick skin, which imparts high levels of phenolic compounds that give the wine a distinctive full-bodied, oily textured palate. Some winemakers deliberately offset the slightly bitter phenolic characters with some residual sugar, which when combined with the variety’s high natural alcohol, results in a full-bodied, rich wine. Its skin of the grape is pink (like Pinot G), so pigments remaining in the wine give it a deep golden, sometimes copper colour.
Gewürztraminer is widely grown throughout Germany and France’s Alsace region and although it’s a German grape, its spiritual home is Alsace and its name means ‘spiced Traminer’. In English, it is often referred to colloquially as simply Gewürz.
Gewürztraminer in Australia
Gewürztraminer arrived in Australia with James Busby in 1832 and was grown and embraced by German settlers.
The hallmarks of Australian Gewürztraminer are its lifted aromatics, offering rose petal, rose water and Turkish delight aromas, sometimes showing spicy notes. The palate is thick and flavoured with lychee, citrus fruit and an oily texture and is generally full-bodied.
Australian Gewürztraminer Regions
In the vineyard, Gewürztraminer needs an ideal site to produce its best; generally, this intensely flavoured wine performs better in a cool climate, as warm climate examples can often be flabby and high in alcohol. To produce an ideal balance of aromas and flavours, it performs best in cool pockets of Victoria, Tasmania, Adelaide Hills, Eden Valley and the Clare Valley where the conditions allow natural acidity to be retained.
Food Pairing with Gewürztraminer
Gewürztraminer is seriously delicious with stinky cheeses like French Munster, Livarot and Maroilles and ripe Aussie washed-rinds. It’s notoriously difficult to match wine with Asian food, but this aromatic white is a great solution to this culinary conundrum – try it with spicy Chinese, Thai, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.