Gewürztraminer is the aromatic variant of the pink-skinned savagnin, shown by DNA profiling to be identical to traminer, and is responsible for some of the most distinctively perfumed, full-bodied white wines of all. DNA profiling in Austria has furthermore demonstrated a parent–offspring relationship between Pinot and Traminer (hence Gewürztraminer), connecting two of the oldest grape varieties in Europe.
Gewürztraminer may not be easy to spell, but is blissfully easy to recognize - indeed many wine drinkers find it is the first, possibly only, grape variety they are able to recognize from the wine’s heady aroma alone. Deeply coloured, opulently aromatic, and broader than almost any other white wine.
With Sauvignon it's all about that unforgettable smell and a virtual absence of colour. With Gewürztraminer, it's all about another unforgettable smell and one of the deepest colours of any white wine.
Like Pinot Gris, the skin of a Gewürztraminer grape is actually pink and its not surprising that pigments remain in the wine to give it a deep golden, sometimes copper colour.
As for Gewürztraminer's aroma, the first thing to say is that it is extremely powerful. If a sample of Gewürztraminer does not have much smell then it was probably made from shockingly over-produced grapes. Then the smell is heady, for Gewürztraminer the wine is usually high in alcohol – the grape (and wine) ripens easily. Its exact character is probably most accurately likened to the smell of lychees – that exotic, tropically-laden scent – with a fair measure of rose petals.
Viticulturally, Gewürztraminer is not exactly a dream to grow, it has small bunches and is not particularly productive but the heady perfume makes up for it.
Residual sugar? The stylistic shift to wines with residual sugar has been a source of consternation for sommeliers, wine critics and even for Alsace’s winemakers (where some of the most famous Gewurztraminer are produced). Instead, many winemakers, including Hans Herzog, restoring dryness to the wines.
We picked our Gewürztraminer on March 17th 2020 at a brix level of 23! Keep an eye out over the next 12 months for the release of this nectar...