Gewurztraminer White Wine Variety

An ancient Alsatian variety with a heady aromas of roses and lychees

By Viala et Vermorel (Ampélographie) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Just what is this variety?

The name derives from the word 'spicy' in German

In fact technically this variety is a clone of Savagnin, a centuries old variety with many different clonal expressions, including Savagnin Blanc the variety simply known as 'Savagnin' in Australia.  See this article if you are unsure about the difference between of varieties and clones

So you could say that Savagnin and Gewurztraminer are identical twins.  There are slight differences in their genes which give rise to the bronze colouring of the skins and unmistakable aroma of Gewurztraminer. 

That's the basic geneticists view but from the point of view of grapegrowers, winemakers and consumers Gewurztraminer and Savagnin are separate varieties. So enough of the technical stuff.

Where it is grown

Gewurztraminer is principally associated with Alsace in north east France but it is also grown in Germany and throughout central and eastern Europe, Italy and Spain. In the New world there are significant amounts in the US, Canada, Chile, New Zealand as well as Australia.

Synonyms of grape varieties evolve over time and space.  Varieties with a large number of synonyms are much older and widespread. Wikipedia lists over a hundred for Gewurztraminer, but the ones you might find more commonly are Traminer, Rotclevner, Savagnin Rose, Fermin Rouge, Fromenteau Rouge, Ranfolzia, Kleinwiner, Drumin, Heida, Mala Dinka, Pinat Cervana, Liwora.

Australian Producers of Gewurztraminer

A few decades ago a lot of this variety was grown in warmer regions to be blended with Riesling. Traminer Riesling was a popular off dry white wine style. 

Now most Gewurztraminer is grown in cooler areas to make more elegant varietal wines or sometimes it is blended with Pinot Gris and Riesling. 

Ada River Gippsland, Allandale Hunter Valley, Angoves Winery Riverland, Audrey Wilkinson Hunter Valley, Bay of Fires Northern Tasmania, Billy Button Alpine Valleys, Birthday Villa Vineyard Macedon Ranges, Bittern Estate Mornington Peninsula, BK Wines Adelaide Hills, Blackets Adelaide Hills, Boat O'Craigo Yarra Valley, Bochara Henty, Borrodell on the Mount Orange, Bream Creek Vineyard Southern Tasmania, Briar Ridge Vineyard Hunter Valley, Bungawarra Granite Belt, Burke and Wills Winery Heathcote, Calabria Family Wines Riverina, Cape Jaffa Mount Benson, Capercaillie Hunter Valley, Cargo Road Wines Orange, Casa Freschi Langhorne Creek, Cassegrain Hastings River, Castelli Estate Denmark, Colmar Estate Orange, Conte Estate Wines McLaren Vale, Craigow Southern Tasmania, Credaro Estate Margaret River, CRFT Adelaide Hills, Currency Creek Currency Creek, Delatite Winery Upper Goulburn, Dhiaga Mornington Peninsula, Dirty Three Wines Gippsland, Elliot Rocke Estate Mudgee, Ernest Hill Wines Hunter Valley, Felsberg Winery Granite Belt, Fernfield Wines Eden Valley, Frogmore Creek Vineyard Southern Tasmania, Gestalt Wines Adelaide Hills, Glandore Estate Hunter Valley, Goaty Hill Wines Northern Tasmania, Hainault Perth Hills, Harewood Estate Denmark, Henschke Eden Valley, Hidden Creek Granite Belt, Hungerford Hill Hunter Valley, Hunting Lodge Estate South Burnett, Huntleigh Vineyards Heathcote, Ivanhoe Wines Hunter Valley, Jilly Wines New England, Josef Chromy Wines Northern Tasmania, K1 by Geoff Hardy Adelaide Hills, Kangderaar Vineyard Bendigo, Kellermeister Wines Barossa Valley, Kevin Sobels Wines Hunter Valley, Lambert Vineyards Canberra, Larry Cherubino Margaret River, Leogate Estate Hunter Valley, Liebichwein Barossa Valley, Lillydale Estate Yarra Valley, Lillypilly Estate Riverina, Lindenton Wines Heathcote, Little Wine Company Hunter Valley, Logan Wines Mudgee, Long Point Vineyard Hastings River, Magpie Estate Barossa Valley, Merilba Estate New England, Merkel King Valley, Miramar Mudgee, Moorebank Vineyard Hunter Valley, Moorilla Estate Southern Tasmania, Mount Macedon Winery Macedon Ranges, Mudgee Wines Mudgee, Ochota Barrels Adelaide Hills, Olive Farm Swan District, Pepper Tree Wines Orange, Petersons Glenesk Estate Mudgee, Pike and Joyce Adelaide Hills, Pipers Brook Vineyard Northern Tasmania, Point Leo Road Vineyard Mornington Peninsula, Pooley Wines Southern Tasmania, Preston Peak Granite Belt, Raleigh Wines Northern Rivers Zone, Ravens Croft Wines Granite Belt, Rolf Binder Barossa Valley, Ros Ritchie Upper Goulburn, Ryanna Vineyard Northern Tasmania, Rymill Coonawarra Coonawarra, Santolin Yarra Valley, Sevenhill Wines Clare Valley, Shepherds Run Canberra, Silent Way Macedon Ranges, Sinapius Northern Tasmania, Skillogalee Clare Valley, Souters Vineyard Alpine Valleys, Spring Vale Wines Southern Tasmania, Sutherland Estate Yarra Valley, Swinney Frankland River, Symphony Hill Wines Granite Belt, Taylors Clare Valley, Tempus Two Hunter Valley, The Little Wine Company Hunter valley, The Minya Winery Geelong, The Silos Estate Shoalhaven Coast, The Vintner's Daughter Canberra, TK Wines Adelaide Hills, Tomich Hill Adelaide Hills, Toms Cap Gippsland, Toppers Mountain New England, Two Bud Spur Southern Tasmania, Wangolina Station Mount Benson, Warrenmang Vineyard Pyrenees, Whyworry Wines New England, Wilson Vineyard Clare Valley, Windy Ridge Vineyard Gippsland, Wine by Sam Strathbogie Ranges, Woodonga Hill Hilltops, Wroxton Wines Eden Valley
edited 26 Nov 2019

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Gewurztraminer and food

Most people think these wines are sweet, basically because as soon as they smell the aromas they assume the wine is sweet.  Gewurztraminer wines are often dry and this influences your food choices.

The most common food recommended for accompanying Gewurztraminer is spicy Asian Food, especially Thai food. I'm not so sure about this.

A much better way to enjoy a good dry wine from this variety is with an appetiser such as Foie gras, or with a soft aromatic cheese.

Recently in Alsace I enjoyed a glass of the local dry Gewurztraminer with Munster cheese and cumin seeds, a magic combination.

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