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The Greatness of Gewürztraminer

Leigh King, Trainee Manager at Majestic Swansea, discovers that it’s always best to try new wines…

I’ve always loved the pungent and full flavour of the very popular Sauvignon blanc grape, but I was on the search for something a bit different in my white wine drinking experience. Being a big fan of Asian cuisine after my travels to Thailand and being quite obsessed over all styles of curry and spiced food, I was introduced to the wonders of Gewürztraminer, a perfect partner to my favoured meal. It made sense with Gewürz meaning spicy in its name! It was then that I discovered the complexities of the flavour that this grape can show in the glass and how very aromatic and delicious the wine is… especially with a red Thai prawn curry. It also has the ability to match with blue cheeses, foie gras and even tropical fruit salads.

When a new Gewürztraminer to the Majestic range came into our store, I felt compelled to write about this fantastic grape variety. We at Majestic have all been talking about the Tiefenbrunner Castel Turmhof Gewürztraminer from Alto Adige, which is simply stunning. It will join the ever-growing list of wines from this fantastic grape that I have tasted and enjoyed since I joined Majestic six months ago.

A grape variety that is distinct and bold, Gewürztraminer is easily recognisable with its highly perfumed aromas and unique flavour. Styles can vary from dry, to some wonderfully sweet dessert wines. It is a serious wine that delivers an array of plentiful and delicious exotic flavours, especially lychee and its hall-mark of heavily scented roses. Once you have tasted wines from this great grape variety, there will be no going back.

Alsace in Eastern France is where the wine makers have focused much attention in producing some fine examples of this aromatic grape variety, where it is the second most planted variety. Other great wines from this grape are made in the mountainous Northern Italian region of Alto-Adige, bordering Australia and Switzerland – rumoured to be the true origin of Gewürztraminer. The New World has also started to plant this grape variety with great success, which can be found as far-flung as New Zealand and Chile. Here are my top Gewürztraminers from around the world:

Viñas del Vero Gewürztraminer 2009 Somontono, Spain

Lighter in body than the others, this wine has an intense lifted floral nose, with rose and honeysuckle amid a burst of tropical fruit. There is a hint of sweetness on the finish, which would match perfectly with fragrant seafood dishes or spiced fish dishes.

Villa Maria Private Bin Gewürztraminer 2009/2010 Gisborne, New Zealand

This wine is off dry in style, with the classic aromas of lychee and spice. It is a full-bodied wine with a fruity palate, with low acidity levels which is often found with this grape variety giving the wine a rich and soft mouthfeel. Perfect with Asian cuisine. more info

Domaine Zind Humbrecht Gewürztraminer  2009 Alsace, France

From a prestigious producer, this wine oozes tropical fruit and gingery spice. Off dry, with a well-balanced level of residual sugar helping bring out all the flavours in the wine. Still withplenty of acidity providing the wine with a fresh and crisp finish. Perfect with smoked fish. more info

Tiefenbrunner Castel Turmhof Gewürztraminer 2009 Alto Adige, Italy (New to Majestic)

A complex wine showing the fruits full character; aromas of honey, ginger and tropical fruit fill the nose. The palate is continues from the nose with lychee and stone fruit more dominant, it’s rather delicious! Pair with my favourite cheese, gorgonzola or Asian spiced seafood, mmm yum. more info

Now it is time for me to relax at home with some delicious Asian cuisine and a glass of wine made from this very charismatic grape variety!

If you’d like to hear more about what Leigh and the rest of the Majestic Swansea team are up to you can follow them on twitter @majesticswansea or visit their store webpage www.majestic.co.uk/swansea