Gewürztraminer has a bit of a bad reputation and is commonly regarded as an overly sweet, boozy wine. Wine aficionados tend to turn up their nose to it, finding the wine overly aromatic and difficult to pair with food. However, there is a lot to love about this wine provided you give it a chance. Good bottles of Gewürztraminer can be found at very reasonable prices and, provided you focus on certain foods, it can be paired very well.
Worldwide only 20,000 acres are dedicated to Gewürztraminer grape production, the majority found in the Alsace region of France. On a much smaller scale, the grape is also grown in United States, Australia, Germany, Italy, Hungary, and New Zealand.
Gewürztraminer is characterized by its quintessential lychee aroma. In fact, tropical fruit is the most dominant aroma and flavor found in this wine. Other notable fruit aromas include pineapple, peach, apricot, orange, cantaloupe, and red grapefruit. Alongside the strong fruit flavors, more complex Gewürztraminers will have notes of rose petal, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, pepper, and honey.
Gewürztraminer is known for its sweetness and this is largely due to the grape itself. Gewürztraminer grapes are aromatic and result in sweeter wines. This combined with the low acidity and high alcohol content results in a sweetness that some may find off-putting. However, it’s worth mentioning that there are dryer bottles available for those willing to seek them out.
Provided you don’t limit your food choices to continental Europe and the United States, it’s surprisingly easy to find foods that pair well with Gewürztraminer. The spicy and sweet notes in this wine make it an ideal companion to spicy food from Asia, Morocco, and India. Gewürztraminer and curry is a particularly wonderful flavor combination and the ginger notes pair beautifully with Asian stir fry.
Spices like pepper, cloves, cinnamon, tumeric, and sesame can really bring out the delicate notes in Gewürztraminer.
Wines to try
Zind-Humbrecht, Gewürztraminer, Hengst Grand Cru ($22)
Intensely aromatic with a pleasing acidity.
Domaines Schlumberger, Gewürztraminer, Kessler Grand Cru ($33)
Strong floral notes and a wonderful, balanced sweetness.
Dopff au Moulin, Gewürztraminer, Brand Grand Cru ($21)
Aromatic, sweet, and beautifully balanced.