Owing to the screen size of your device, you may obtain a better viewing experience by rotating your device a quarter-turn (to get the so-called “panorama” screen view).
owlcroft logo
An Owlcroft Company
web site.

 Click to 
 email us. 

If you like this site,
please post a link to it!

This is…

That Useful Wine Site

Search, or just roll your cursor over the colored boxes farther below.
Advertisements appear before actual Search results;
click the “x” to dismiss Search-results block.


  Site navigation:


  Site navigation:

The Traminer Grape

Quick page jumps:

About Traminer

(Synonyms: Savagnin)


Map showing the Jura region of France

Wine grapes have, in recent years, been subject to much examination using the techniques of DNA analysis. The results have often been quite surprising, and the identities and inter-relations discovered have often been remarkable, to say the least. The grape we are discussing here is one of the most remarkable of all. Its story is an epic, or perhaps a saga—certainly a long and winding tale—so have a little patience with this one.

Once upon a time, long, long ago in a land far across the sea, there lived a grape. The grape was (as is common with wine grapes) called by different names in different places—“Traminer” being one of the more common names—and it was a good, respected grape. That grape was most likely born as a natural (that is, not deliberately man-made) cross between some now-unknown types, and it seems to have arisen in north-east France. It was such a good, useful grape that its cultivation soon expanded to many areas across Europe. In the course of its travels, it developed (as wine grapes are prone to do) various clonal mutations that became established in the areas where they developed. Now it is important to understand that a “clonal mutation” is, biologically speaking, not “speciation”: that is, the mutation is not a new grape type but simply a variant of the original. Thus, all the various clonal variants of the grape we are discussing here are effectively the same grape.

What is this “Ur-grape”? Jancis Robinson in her eminent reference Wine Grapes lists this grape under the heading “Savagnin”; she recognizes that the name “Traminer” for the grape is older, and arguably more widespread, but uses Savagnin “because it is less misleading in terms of the variety’s origin.” With some trepidation, we take leave to disagree. We present this introduction here, but essentially repeat it on our “Savagnin” page. On this page, we will confine ourselves to the grape as used under the name “Traminer”.

Before we proceed, however, it is worth reciting some of the names under which modern Traminer is known and grown in the world. Those names include (among many others) Savagnin, Gewürztraminer, Heida, Païen, Savagnin Blanc, and Savagnin Rose. Yes, the famous Gewürztraminer is basically just Traminer/Savagnin under another name. (And of course each of those types just listed has itself a small host of regional synonym names.)

Now on to Traminer as used under that name (we have a separate page for Gewürztraminer).

The Traminer grape, being an old and successful type, has spread far and wide in the world. Besides its existence as Savagnin in France and now Australia, and as Heida or Païen in Switzerland, it can be found, under various local names, in many places—nowadays many of them in central and eastern Europe: Austria (where Gelber Traminer is an outstanding clone), Bulgaria (as Traminer or as Mala Dinka), the Czech Republic (as Prynč or Brynśt), Hungary (as Tramini), Romania (as Rusa), Slovenia (as Traminec), and even to some extent in Russia.

The taste of Traminer table wines is variously described, but its essence seems to be tropical fruit strongly balanced by a citrusy lemon streak, and—repeated several times—a “savory” quality (which doesn’t help much because that’s a word with a rather indefinite referent). The wines are generally described as medium-bodied, with good acidity. Recalling the grape’s ancestry, we should perhaps give some credence to one reviewer’s description of it as “a bit like Riesling but with greater texture”.

(If it’s any help, remember that Savignan is essentially Gewürztraminer, so look there for more extended discussions.)

Factoid: Some of the world’s most celebrated wine grapes are descended in some way from Traminer, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chenin Blanc.

Return to the page top. ↑

Some Descriptions of Traminer Wines

(Most descriptions of Traminer wines focus on Gewürztraminer and Savagnin, which see; here we have tried to include more general Traminer notes, which are scarce.)

Return to the page top. ↑

Some Traminers to Try

(About this list.)

Traminer grapes have done exceedingly well under their aliases, notably Gewürztraminer and Savagnin, so that there are now very few makers worldwide who actually bottle wine under a Traminer label. And, sad to say, what they do so bottle is, shall we say, not generally the best the grape can do.

Thus, the sad fact is that there are virtually no table-wine bottlings expressly labelled “ Traminer” available within our price range in the U.S. The item below is outside our normal range, but we wanted to have something to list (and, as its CellarTracker notes indicate, consumers seem to like it better than the professional writers—and, from our own experience, we concur).

(Also: when looking for Traminer, be aware that a good many listings saying Traminer are actualy Gewürztraminer bottlings—especially those giving it as “Traminer Aromatica”.)

Domaine Boyar “Selection” Traminer
(Very scarce. Note that the consumer ratings on CellarTracker are distinctly better than those of the )

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Reviews” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks.

Return to the page top. ↑

For a Splurge

Even opening up the price parameter, we find nothing available in the U.S. market that is worth any extra expenditure. There are some fine “Traminer” bottlings, but (probably for lack of demand) they don'’t get to these shores.

Return to the page top. ↑





Disclaimers  |  Privacy Policy

owl logo This site is one of The Owlcroft Company family of web sites. Please click on the link (or the owl) to see a menu of our other diverse user-friendly, helpful sites. Pair Networks logo Like all our sites, this one is hosted at the highly regarded Pair Networks, whom we strongly recommend. We invite you to click on the Pair link or logo for more information on hosting by a first-class service.
(Note: All Owlcroft systems run on Ubuntu Linux and we heartily recommend it to everyone—click on the link for more information).

All content copyright © 2024 The Owlcroft Company
(excepting quoted material, which is believed to be Fair Use).

This web page is strictly compliant with the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) Extensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML) Protocol v1.0 (Transitional) and the W3C Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Protocol v3 — because we care about interoperability. Click on the logos below to test us!

This page was last modified on Saturday, 30 October 2021, at 11:26 pm Pacific Time.