Gewürztraminer is a white wine grape that is most commonly used to make sweet wine in Germany and the Alsace region of France. However, due to it’s recent popularity, other countries are now producing this wine as well.
Well-made gewürztraminer tastes like no other wine. It has an upfront perfume aroma and flavor like drinking the sweet essence of rose petals. It also comes with a sweet flavor or lychees and honey that even come through on how it feels in your mouth. Sometimes even spices can be sensed like cinnamon, lilac, citrus peel, or honeysuckle.
However poorly made gewürztraminer can be as awful as the well-made wine is delicious. The poorly made gewürztraminer can have a bitter flavor on the back of the tongue almost like old marmalade or can become flabby and greasy in its over-sweetness so much so that it feels like drinking melted butter.
The German versions of this wine tend to be sweeter resulting in the more classic flavors of lychee and roses, however the Alsatian examples can add an entirely new view to this wine. The wines tend to be much dryer and lighter in the mouth and sometimes, in the best made cases, you can taste a fierceness of black pepper.
Wines from the “New World”, USA, Australia, and South America are very rarely made to age, however, the wines from Germany almost always become better with about 10 years of maturation. The best wines to let age are the most expensive, Grand Cru varieties.
When purchasing gewürztraminer look for German Brands like Wolff-Metternich, Rebholz, or Klaus Zimmerling. For Alsatian wines try Adam, Boesch, Deiss, or Pierre Sparr. For New World varieties some great ones are Concha y Toro from Chile, Piper’s Brook from Australia, or Adler Fels from California.
There are many synonyms for gewürztraminer out on the market. A couple to take note of are Clevner or Klavner in Germany, Traminer, in France, Russia, Moldova, and Austria.