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The Gewürztraminer Grape

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About Gewürztraminer

(Synonyms—there are over 40, and many are probably slightly different grapes; the commoner ones for real Gewurz are: Rotclevner, Roter Traminer, Savignan Rosé, Termeno Aromatico, Traminer Aromatico, Traminer Aromatique, Traminer Musqué, Traminer Parfumé, Traminer Rosé, Traminer Rosso)

Background

Gewürztraminer grapes Map showing Alsace

Gewürztraminer is a white-wine grape with a complex history. Though now closely associated with Alsace (see map at left), it apparently originated in the Germanic South Tyrol province of Italy as "Traminer", a forerunner type still important (usually today under the name Savignan Blanc, to avoid confusion with Gewurz, as the wine is now often called).

At some point, Traminer threw a mutation (wine grapes are quite prone to mutation) with much stronger aromatics, and that variety was soon known under many names, quite a few of which still survive (see "Synonyms", above). In time—say by the later 1800s—the settled name became "Gewurztraminer" (originally spelt without any umlaut). Gewurz is generally considered one of the dozen and a half or so of world-class white-wine grapes (those in boldface in the varietals list to the left of the page).

An extremely common but erroneous remark one finds about the wine is that the prefix "Gewürz" means "spicy", and from that evolve remarks about the wine's "spicy" flavors; in truth, a much better translation would be "perfumed", and that shows in some of the other names for the grape (Traminer Aromatique, Traminer Musqué, Traminer Parfumé). While the wines typically have strong and somewhat exotic flavors, few if any of them actually correspond to the aromas or tastes of any actual spices.

As you will see below, descriptions of the nose and taste of gewurz tend to be remarkably similar. The most frequently repeated simile is "lychee" (aka "lichi"), not necessarily an aroma many will be intimate with. One also reads of tropical fruits, floral notes, and that elusive "spiciness". In fact, there is no good way to put the wine's quality into words; but one's first two or three samples will leave an indelible impression.

(Something to note: Gewurz is too often associated with a distinctly sweet quality, because that's how American winemakers have mostly made it; a good dry Gewurz can be "caviar to the masses", so mind reviews that talk about a slightly bitter finish or an astringency. A dry Gewurz, the style most fanciers prefer in their table wines, is rich but certainly not sweet.)

Gewurz is a grape quite difficult to grow well; it is very sensitive to soil type and climate, and—though a vigorous grower—prone to diseases. As relates to the wine produced, the important aspects of viticulture are that, because the grape has naturally high sugars but rather low acids, in warm climates it tends toward flabby wine lacking sufficient acid to balance the sweetness, whereas if picked early to retain some acid, it may well not have developed enough of its famous characteristic flavor elements. In general, then, getting Gewurz with the full flavor balanced by sufficient acids is very tricky, and so a lot of mediocre Gewurz gets made. Only the top hands can reliably produce good product on a long-term basis.

It is received wisdom, and (for once) probably correct that the best manifestations of Gewurz are and for some time have been the Alsatian wines (that is also true of such similar wines as Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and a few others). There are some makers in California who are said to have achieved satisfactory results, but by and large the wine world still turns to Alsace for its Gewurz.

(A longer, and excellent, article on Gewürztraminer by Jancis Robinson can be found on her site.)

Factoid: Frankisch in Austria, Gringet in Savoie, Heida in Switzerland, Formentin in Hungary, and Grumin from Bohemia are all very similar to Savagnin blanc and probably represent clones of the Traminer family, if not Traminer itself. Viognier may be a more distant relative of Savagnin blanc.


Some Descriptions of Gewürztraminer Wines

  • Wikipedia

    "The variety has high natural sugar and the wines are white and usually off-dry, with a flamboyant bouquet of lychees. Indeed, Gewürztraminer and lychees share the same aroma compounds. Dry Gewürztraminers may also have aromas of roses, passion fruit and floral notes. It is not uncommon to notice some spritz (fine bubbles on the inside of the glass)."

  • Winophelia

    "No other region in the world can match Alsace for explosively spicy, fruity gewürzes. A good Alsace gewürztraminer combines aromas and flavors of citrus and tropical fruits, rose petal, lichee, sweet brown spices (the gewürz prefix in German means spicy) and grilled bacon or smoked meat. While some wines tend to be more floral and others more fruit-driven, most examples of both types are spicy, aromatic, flavorful, low in acidity and rather full-bodied. Floral gewürzes are usually lighter and more delicate while fruitier versions are more often thick, even oily in texture."

  • Grape Heaven

    "It is not a subtle wine, it is distinctive and its special quality sets it apart from all other white wines. Because of the intense aroma and strong flavor some people have difficulty enjoying it with food. Gewurztraminer is known for being very crisp and spicy. While it has varying degrees of sweetness and dryness, this wine is distinct in its aromas, colors and flavors. The wine is full bodied, which is rare in white wines. It has characteristics and flavors of flowers specifically roses, gardenias, honeysuckle; and fruits such as grapefruit, peaches and mangos; and spices like nutmeg, cloves, ginger and vanilla. Gewurztraminer has also been noted for its musky or earthly flavor, while others suggest that the flavor is more herbaceous, grassy, sometimes with a hint of asparagus. Although there are many descriptions of Gewurztraminer, most will agree that when you taste Gewurztraminer it tends to be both sweet and spicy at the same time. People tend to either really love Gewurztraminer or stay far away from it because its intensity can be overwhelming. - See more at: http://www.grapeheaven.com/learn/Gewurztraminer-i58.aspx#sthash.rRuTZCVI.dpuf"

  • Wine Maker

    "Gewürztraminer can be made in many styles and for many purposes. It can range from dry, to sweet, to fortified to sparkling. It can also be used for blending. Most of the Alsatian versions are dry (trocken) or semi-dry (halb-trocken) and both types are good. Dry Gewürztraminer, with no residual sugar, is best served alongside Oriental or Indian cuisine, with which it matches up very well. The wide range of exotic flavors in the food complement the Gewürztraminer’s flavor and aroma. Sweeter versions, with three percent or more of residual sugar, are best served as a dessert wine with sweet pastries and fruit cream dishes. Slightly sweet Gewürztraminer — which weighs in at between one and a half to three percent of residual sugar — can be delightful with sweet, cream foods or some cream desserts."

  • Wine Tastings Guide

    "Most Alsatian Gewurztraminer wine is a dry or just off-dry white wine. However, some late harvest wines can be quite sweet. . . Gewurztraminer can have a flamboyant personality which people either love or are put off by. First of all, it tends to be very aromatic with dramatic aromas of rose petals and lychee fruit jumping from the glass. The flavors tend to be bold, full-bodied and often have a spicy accent to them. They can seem almost waxy or oily because of their full body and relatively low acid. Yet, despite the lower acid and rounder, fatter texture, the best Alsatian wines stay in excellent balance. They do not have the thrust and verve of a Riesling and almost represent a polar opposite in terms of personality. Most Gewurz is excellent young but some can age well too. While they do not have the longevity of Riesling, they can improve in bottle for many years."

  • winery-sage.com

    "It is often described as having the small of roses or Lychees but not in subtle way. A strong sniff of Gewurztraminer often results in an olfactory overload. It taste is equally polarizing. Gewurztraminer is a low acid Varietal so in most cases, there really isn't a counterbalance to a sweetness that can range from subtle to overpowering. While many sources describe it as full bodied white wine, in reality that full body character can also produce a cloying sweetness that overwhelms the other characteristic of the wine. The best examples are subtle with a balance of perfume, crispness and spice. If either the vineyard master or the winemaker makes a mistake with Gewurztraminer it can't be hidden. For those who grow Gewurztraminer, it's a labor of love because it's a very difficult grape to grow. It ripens early so an onset of late rain or cold can cause problems. Cool, dry climates allow what meager acid is present to mature. In warmer climates, it quickly ripens with little acidity or complexity. Like most wine grape varietals, it will over produce if not kept in check, which weakens the fruit flavors. Its grape color can range from green, to yellow and even orange, usually depending on climate."

  • DrinkWine.com

    "Gewürztraminer is a pink-skinned, small-clustered grape variety that sets a modest crop and ripens fully in propitious, cool-climate conditions, producing heady, alcoholic, dry table wines . . . Gewürztraminer is justly famed for its wonderfully exotic, complex aroma, which is reminiscent of roses, lychee fruit, allspice, peaches, and grapefruit. "

  • Professional Friends of Wine

    "Gewürztraminer is one of the most pungent wine varietals, easy for even the beginning taster to recognize by its heady, aromatic scent. . . "Gewürztraminer is highly perfumed and quite full-bodied, more so than all other white wine grapes, with the exception of Viognier. In fact, the combination of Gewürztraminer's strong, heady, perfumed scent, exotic lychee-nut flavor and heavy-oily texture can be overwhelming and tiring to many palates. There is also a slight tendency to bitterness that seems exacerbated by ripeness, so a light touch is needed at the wine press. Many makers finish their Gewürztraminer with a spot of residual sugar. . . The most frequently encountered (but not exclusive) smell and/or flavor elements found in Gewürztraminer-based wines include: Floral—rose petal, gardenia, honeysuckle; Fruity—lychee, grapefruit, peach, mango; Mineral—petroleum, terpene, diesel; Aggressive—perfume, spice.

  • Sally's Place

    "Gewurztraminer [is] probably the world's most distinctive white table wine. For most wine drinkers, Gewurztraminer is a love/hate wine because its bold, exotic perfume reminiscent of cinnamon and cloves, litchi and rose petals, its full-bodied texture and prominent spicy flavors can be too extreme for some. The varietal possesses these characteristics regardless of where it is grown, but Alsatian vineyards produce by far the truest version of Gewurztraminer. What makes Alsatian Gewurztraminer superior to all others? Primarily soil, hillside elevation and exposure, a perfect microclimate and older grapevines."


Some Gewürztraminers to Try

(About this list.)

We have included several widely recommended Alsatians, plus a couple of Californians to complete the spectrum. The Alsatian producers each produce several levels of Gewurz, with ascending prices, so have a care when reading reviews or buying; in each case, the wine listed here is the "entry-level" wine, as those wines are the only ones that fit into our price range of not over $20. Also beware sweetness levels: supposedly "table wine" Gewurz can range from bone-dry to quite a ways "off dry"; none are accordingly "better" or "worse", but your appreciation will depend mightily on your preference for dryness in non-dessert wines.

(This was a case of an "embarrassment of riches": there are quite a few entry-level Gewurz wines from both Alsatia and America that seem worthy of inclusion on even a basic starter list. Some much-praised ones we left off for brevity, but that you might want to follow up on, include: Albert Mann and Brandborg, from Alsatia; and Husch, Thomas Fogarty, Gundlach Bundschu, all from California; plus Dr. Konstantin Frank from upstate New York and Dowsett Family from Oregon.)

The quotations below are excerpts; we strenuously urge you to click on the green diamond symbol by each quoted review to see the full article.

Old World Wines

  • Hugel et Fils Gewürztraminer, $11 - $30. (Dry.)
         ($22.24 at Saratoga Wine Exchange).

    Some quotations and facts:

    Bright straw. Soft citrus scents along with mirabelle and cinnamon honey on the nose. Then compellingly sappy in the mouth, with off-dry flavors of crystallized citrus, ginger and mango. Turns very floral on the high-acid finish. A very stylish gewurz in the typical refined Hugel mode.

    Lychee Fruit, apricot and hazelnut aromas each emerge prominently from the engaging nose of this 2008 Gewürztraminer. White cling peach, apricot, and nectarine are part of an explosion of stone fruits that dominate the palate of this offering. All of those rich, beguiling fruit flavors give the impression of sweetness, but this is a perfectly dry wine. Hints of tropical fruit and spices kick in as well. They lead to the finish which shows off fleshy white plum, citrus and continued wallops of spice. This wine has a long, lingering finish whose flavors persist on your tongue well after the last sip is gone. This is a really terrific example of Gewürztraminer.

    ♣ Wine Spectator (September 2012), 88 points

    ♣ International Wine Cellar (November 2012), 90 points

    This shows a fresh and restrained florality, hinting at chamomile tea for its slight bitterness. Flavors of candied lime zest follow, over a quartz-like mineral baseline.

    The Look: Hints of pale green and straw yellow, it is bright and clear which indicates of full body. The Nose: First aroma is noble rot which is typical to sweet white wines but also for Gewurztraminer grape. Soft, aromatic, scented bouquet with flowers and fruits. The Taste: Again noble rot but dry palate although sensation is not so dry as many other grapes give. Aromatic finish.

    Aromatic, with a floral overtone to notes of mandarin orange, cream, spice and lemon zest. Well-knit, with a subtle, spiced finish.

    [It] had a peppery, spicy scent that carried through in the flavor. Bright acidity and a hint of bitterness at the finished worked well to balance out the sweetness of this wine.

    Here is a master class in the flavors of Gewürztraminer. It is spicy, ripe and rich, with lychee and mango flavors. Perfumed, rounded and touched by notes of spice and ginger, this is lacking in acidity and will likely be drinkable soon.


  • Pierre Sparr Gewürztraminer Selection, $12 - $21. (A bit off dry.)

    Some quotations and facts:

    Light straw color. Rich aroma, lots of the litchee fruit character that's a standard descriptor for Gewurz, with a heady floral backdrop of roses. Unctuous, good acidity; communicates itself to me as rather sweet, but the illusion seems to come from richness, not sugar: Sparr says it contains only 1.3 percent residual sugar.

    [A] consistent favourite of mine and the 2009 is an especially good vintage that has recently arrived . .  The palate is rich with the fruit well balanced by firm acidity. Very good to excellent length.

    Light greenish gold in color, this wine smells of candied orange peel, lychee and very faintly, of roses. In the mouth The wine has a wonderful silky weight to it, which caresses the tongue with flavors of candied orange peel and rosewater. Lychee notes emerge on the finish with has a hint of heat to it. Fleshy, though with enough acidity to keep it from being flabby. Off-dry. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5.

    The wine started all right, tropical fruit aromas. The first sip even started all right, some nice fruit but very little of Gewurztraminer’s typical “spiciness”. It was the finish that got to me. While the acidity was all right, there was for me a slight bitter aftertaste. With or without food it was there. Maybe it is because the alcohol was a little higher (14%) than most Gewurztraminers I taste. Whatever the reason, the finish finished it for me.

    The 2011 Gewurztraminer is dry, crisp with notes for rose, and lychee. Not a fruit forward wine but pairs well with turkey, Asian and spicy food.

    While it's far from the most amazing Gewurz I've had, for the price it's excellent. The wine starts with an aromatic nose of yellow flowers, ripe yellow fruit, and lychee. On the palate there’s more yellow flowers, ripe honeyed yellow apple and pear, lychee (a perfumed white fruit), with a little green grape bitterness and a mild minerality. Initially, it’s a little flabby, with the sugar feeling a little heavy, but it develops more balanced acid as it airs. This is quite yummy!


  • F. E. Trimbach Gewürztraminer, $12 - $30. (Dry.)

    Some quotations and facts:

    Some…well, actually, nowadays, many…Gewurztraminers have a dollop of sweetness. Not here. The Trimbach is racy and tingling and dry, without even a hint or nod of sweet; it’s the house style. Another sometimes failing of Gewurztraminer is a flabby lack of acidity. Not in Alsace, and definitely not with Trimbach: this is Gewurztraminer with structure and vibrancy! The house of Trimbach is one of the most reliably consistent producers of this variety, even with the vagaries and dramas of farming thrown in to the mix.

    This was a very good bottle and an example of a dryer Gewurztraminer. It still had that sweetness and spice depth to it but there was no upfront sweetness.

    This wine from Trimbach is dry and restrained but without any loss of the grapes exotic and spicy characteristics. Perfume and lychee dominate the palate and a clean finish leaves the mouth refreshed. Superb by itself or as a match for the spicy viscosity of Chinese or Thai dishes, or even rich cheeses. The 2007 has [in 2013] developed excellent bottle-ageing characters of sweet caramel, nuts and honey.

    The Trimbach Gewurztraminer has long been hailed as a prime example of this variety, and I once remarked that you could almost taste the sunshine in the glass! The 2007 vintage opens with a fragrant bouquet which transfers into a spicy flavored wine with a tangy finish. The flavor reminds one of cinnamon and ginger with a slight nuance of grapefruit toward the end. This is a dry wine rather than off-dry, and cuts a clean swath through the array of flavors at the Thanksgiving table.

    I can't think of a better wine to toast the arrival of spring than the 2006 Trimbach Gewurztraminer. Its beautiful and aromatic floral notes evoke thoughts of the first flowers of the season starting to bloom, and it is sure to make you smile after your first sip. . . . This Gewurztraminer is bright golden yellow in color, with aromas of white flowers, peach and sweet lemon. On the palate is an explosion of flavor with honeysuckle, apricot, peach, lychee, wildflower honey and a slight hint of cinnamon and spice on the finish that lingers for quite some time. It’s elegant and supple in the mouth, with well-balanced acidity and alcohol (13.5%). After my first few sips I was hooked. This is the kind of wine that grabs you right away and is impossible to put down.

    This had a very leechy nut smell and was a bit offgassy. The mouth was a lovely leechy nut, honey and citrus combination, but, again, I feel it could have offered a bit more weight and taste. It is, however, a lovely representation as always of Alsatian Gewurzt.

    The two names you're most likely to see are Trimbach and Hugel, which is fine because they're consistently good and generally good buys. Indeed, in this tasting, the Trimbach, at $13.99, was our best value. It's the under-$14 wine we mentioned earlier that was bursting with fruit flavors.


  • Léon Beyer Gewürztraminer, $15 - $27. (Dry.)

    Some quotations and facts:

    A broad open nose, with prominent notes of wax, mango and tropical fruit, turps. Surprising tannic grip, again quite light. Vinified dry as is all of Beyer's range, but smells of more than it tastes.

    Highly aromatic, displaying tropical fruit aromas. Full-bodied and well structured. Intense, well balanced with a long finish. 91/100

    The gingery-pear flavor compliments the sweet tang of cranberries, the toastiness of nuts and the licorice-like flavor of fennel.

    It is off-dry with crispness to balance out the hatred of sweetiness. Strong nose of Lychee. But, tastes like crispy Riesling from Alsace.

    Beyer's Gewurztraminer is actually fairly restrained, compared to some; but it has the classic notes of litchi and preserved spice-jar fruits and sturdy structure that all say "Alsace". Being Alsatian, it has a bit more acidity than some, and this prevents it from being in any way flabby or dull; instead it is a bright, lively, engaging wine with an exotic aromatic signature: a heady combination of fruit, flowers and spice all in one glass!

    Looking for a sure thing to begin your gewürztraminer adventure? I'd highly recommend the classic gewürztraminer 2010, Léon Beyer, Alsace, France.

    Essentially the same lessons [of what high-altitude gewurztraminer can and should be] are taught by the splendid gewurztraminers of Leon Beyer from Alsace.


  • Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Gewürztraminer, $18 - $30. (Dry)

    Some quotations and facts:

    [It] is everything an entry-level Alsace gewürz ought to be. Bright yellow-gold in color, with captivating aromas of mango, lichee and smoked pork, it's a rich and fleshy example of the variety, with tropical fruit and spice flavors lifted by lively minerality.

    [A] very pale lemon-yellow. On the nose, there were pineapples, nectarines, and lemons with a hint of roses, baked sugar, honey, and white pepper. In the mouth, there were pineapples, peaches, and lemons with hints of honey and white pepper. The wine had a touch of effervescence, a light-to-medium body, and bright acidity. . . . If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won't be disappointed. . . It's food-friendly, but also easily enjoyable on its own; however, I recommend sharing it with someone else or you may find that you unintentionally finished the whole bottle by yourself!

    ♣ Wine Spectator (date unknown), 91 points

    Zind-Humbrecht in Alsace is the Rembrandt of the field. Single-vineyard bottlings ranging from $20 through $70 leave indelible impressions of what high-altitude gewurztraminer can and should be.

    Dry and focused, this mineral-driven version offers lots of ground white pepper and ginger notes, with an open-knit mesh of crunchy apricot, lychee, grapefruit zest and melon rind.

    This pale yellow colored Gewurz opens with a mild peach and lychee like bouquet. On the palate, this wine is light bodied, fresh and has a round mouthfeel. The flavor profile is a very tasty mild apricot with hints of quinine and gentle lychee. The finish is dry and its flavors linger for quite some time. 90+

    Certainly rich, but this wine is also about purity of spicy fruit, bringing out the fresher side of the variety as well as the intensity.

    Alsace has long been considered the benchmark for dry Gewurztraminer, but this one goes against type with a noticeable sweet impression and 14% alcohol. That aside, the wine has attractive, spicy perfume, traces of lychee and rose petals, great texture, dry fruity finish, and not even a trace of bitterness. It's a lovely wine. 90

    The Zind-Humbrecht smells of exotica but is far more restrained on the palate than its nose would suggest.


New World Wines

  • Claiborne and Churchill Dry Gewürztraminer, $12 - $27. (A bit off dry.)
         ($14.34 at Saratoga Wine Exchange).

    Some quotations and facts:

    When we opened the bottle we at once notice the pronounced floral aromas characteristic of this wine. In the glass the wine was a transparent gold color. Swirling the glass we notice moderate tears indicating the lighter structure we were looking for. The aroma of the wine had the lovely floral characteristics we expected in the wine, We also noticed a nice citrus aroma of pink grapefruit and tangerine. On the palette, the wine was substantial but light, off-dry with a very slight sweetness and a nice prickly level of acidity. The alcohol level at 12.5% was light, but enough to give a sense of a nice mouth full. Although some barrel aging was used in the processing, there was no real perceptible tannins in the taste. The finish was long and smooth, leaving a light lingering citrus aftertaste.

    Sourced mainly from Ventana Vineyard in Arroyo Seco. Very light straw color, this featured ripe pear, lychee, and a touch of spice. A bit more weight on the palate than the Riesling, this had a lively and clean finish, nice.

    Respectful of Alsace but no mimic, this is stunning. Gewurz often gets relegated to "spicy food only" status (which is fine, anyway), but this is taut enough to be remarkably flexible with all sorts of food . .  The aromatics "go to 11," in Nigel Tufnel's indomitable phrase, all white flowers and then green olives. After the spicy, lychee-and-roses midpalate, there's a long, tantalizing but very clean, dry finish.

    Name a spice and it’s here, especially cinnamon and cloves, which give the tangerine and papaya flavors an exotic, tantalizing taste. Acidity is fine and bright, and the finish treads the line between dry and off dry. 87 points

    This wine smelled like a fruit cocktail -- peaches, apricots, tangerines and canned pineapples. This wine should appeal to a wide variety of wine drinkers, but it needs food to show its stuff. It ranked second in our tasting.

    I discovered Claiborne and Churchill's dry 'Alsacian Style' [sic] Gewurztraminer a few months ago, and immediately stuck a pin in the Edna Valley map. It was a few dollars less retail in my store than my beloved Trimbach Gewurz, and had a bottle that said "We love Alsace, too! Give us a shot!" and I was not disappointed. I found a wine that showed the alluring floral/fruit aromatics that I craved, and have been a fan ever since.

    Their most popular wine, that they have perfected over the last 30 years, is the Dry Gewürztraminer.

    We selected the superb Dry Gewurztraminer of Claiborne & Churchill Alsatian Style (Central Coast). This has always been one of our favorite food wines. . . An added advantage is that it is inexpensive.

    Claiborne & Churchill are the best this side of Alsace for your needs. I highly recommend them.

    They have two decades of strong track record making wonderful Alsatian-style Gewürztraminers and Rieslings.


  • Navarro Gewürztraminer, $19 - $22. (Dry)

    Some quotations and facts:

    This pale yellow colored Gewurztraminer from Navarro is one of the best Gewurtz's that I have covered in a while. It opens with a fragrant lychee bouquet with hints of peach. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, slightly acidic, and zesty. The flavor profile is a very tasty mineral infused lychee with hints of tangerine and peach. It closes dry but its ripe fruit and lingering acidity make it feel close to semi-dry. As a result, it lasts for quite some time after the wines is gone.

    Navarro makes a great gewurztraminer, quite possibly the best in the USA given its track record over the years. Just imagine that about ten years ago, when asked to give a State-of-the-Art gewurztraminer presentation at the World Gewurz Symposium in northern Italy and a tasting of world gewurzes, Navarro is precisely the one I chose to show off USA gewurz at its best.

    Navarro certainly makes some of the best gewurztraminers in the U.S. but in my opinion the better examples from Alsace are in a whole 'nother class. (I say this having tasted hundreds of new Alsace releases a year going back to the late '80s.)

    Color: It was like the Pinot Gris in that the wine was pale and nearly colorless. It had a little meat on the legs due to higher alcohol, but not a rich gold like many Gewurztraminers. Smell: Typical for Gewurz, the wine was like a bowl of ripe peaches but in a bath of spicy orange tea. The wine also smelled like Chinese lychee too. Taste: WOW! A lush yet dry wine, it was like apples, lime, pineapple, and lychee. It had very low acid but wasn't flabby -- just super silky. I could sip this all day long. Drink or down the sink?: I remembered this as the best US Gewurztraminers I've ever had. It retains the crown. Outstanding wine. Outstanding.

    Made in the dry style, it has lovely aromas of apples, honeysuckle and a touch of lemon blossom. It's like tasting the Mendocino countryside! These aromas develop into flavors dominated by apple, accented with white pepper. This was a wine with lots of complexity and appeal, at a very attractive price. And I loved the spicy, peppery edge that can so often be missing in domestic gewurztraminer.

    Pale yellow color with aromatic lychee, citrus, and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s light/medium-bodied and dry with citrus, and spice flavors. Medium finish. 13.5% abv (88 pts.)

    Clear and bright, pale lemon green with light legs, on the nose it's developing and clean with intense aromas of gooseberry, guava, citrus, white stone fruit, a hit of green grass and minerality. The palate is dry, has medium acidity, medium body and a medium plus intense flavour profile of yellow grapefruit, pomelo, pear, bergamot lime and white ginger. The finish is medium plus and slightly bitter. It's reasonably crisp and not flabby, balanced but with the aforementioned slightly bitter aftertaste, a 'good' wine. We liked that this wasn’t overly floral like most Gewürztraminers tend to be.

    A full, musky perfumed rose petal nose. Very forward and delightful on the palate, but it’s completely dry. Very impressive. Very Good Indeed+. 93/100

    I found the nose to be incredibly floral. I also got aromas of white pepper, lychee, orange blossoms, white flowers, and honeysuckle. In the mouth I found flavors of lemon, mandarins, lychee, almonds, minerals, and oranges. I really enjoyed this wine and found it to be crisp and refreshing with excellent acidity.


For a Splurge

You can't go wrong with a bottle of the near-legendary F. E. Trimbach Gewürztraminer Cuvee Des Seigneurs De Ribeaupierre ($30 to $45, 92 points at Wine Spectator).



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