Gewürztraminer – aromatic, full-bodied and intensive
Not only experts can recognize a Gewürztraminer wine straightaway. As a matter of fact, due to its rich and intense bouquet as well as clear taste notes, this grape variety is considered to be a beginner grape. This does not mean that Gewürztraminer is a simple grape, far from it! It rather implies that everyone who is interested in the different aromas of wines is very likely to distinguish this special grape from others first. A wine from Gewürztraminer grapes is generally a golden shimmering white wine which appears very glossy. The aromatic fragrance fills the air immediately and intensely. Especially roses and nutmeg become apparent. Marzipan, honey and quince scents are also typical for this grape; some notice spicy notes. The ‘Gewürz’ (‘spice’) in the ‘Traminer’ solely indicates that it is a pronouncedly aromatic white wine. In the mouth, the rich and full-bodied impression reoccurs; often the tongue tastes a strong lychee note. Gewürztraminer white wines have a mild acidity and can be stored in the wine cellar for a few years.
Gewürztraminer Needs a Good Climate and Terroir
Gewürztraminer is low in yields which for many winemakers is a sign of its quality. Whilst other grape varieties do gain in quantity with many grapes yet lose in quality, the Gewürztraminer concentrates all its features in few grapes. Reason for the little yield is mainly the tendency to irrigate which means that many flowers fall off before the ripening starts. As the plant buds early it is prone to frost and therefore prefers warmer regions. Furthermore, the terroir has to be free of viruses as the Gewürztraminer has shown to be prone to them. Gewürztraminer ripens very late; many winemakers make a virtue of necessity and use the so-called noble rot to produce an opulent dessert wine from a Gewürztraminer. This grape variety is truly not easy for winemakers yet the high quality makes the winemakers’ efforts worthwhile.
The Gewürztraminer in South Africa
Wine experts are indecisive about the origin of Gewürztraminer. Some facts indicate a Greek history, but the town Tramin in South Tyrol could also be a hint. Today, mainly the Alsace area delivers excellent wines from this grape variety. South Africa is also a place where Gewürztraminer thrives. The warm yet not too hot climate and nutrient soils are ideal. The winemakers usually bottle as a single grape wine to allow the rich features to express fully. The spectrum reaches from a salubrious Everyday-Drinking-Gewürztraminer up to the famous Flagship wines.