Talk to anybody about wine, and they would be able to tell you the two main types. Red and White. A vast majority would be able to name a few varieties, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay would be dropped in general wine conversation. However, have you considered venturing out of the norm and exploring something else?
There is a wine out there to suit any taste, and tonight, I am going to talk about the mutated brother of the Sauvignon Blanc grape; Gewürztraminer.
This grape started off in the region of Alsace in France. The region that sits on the French and German Borders then started to spread through the alps as far south as Italy and into Croatia. Gewürz loosely translates to “spiced or purfumed”. However, now you can find Gewürztraminer throughout the world, and for South Australian’s it loves our Adelaide Hills and Clare Valley regions. (Look for the region on a bottle.) Although the wine is white, the grapes from this variety are pink in colour. It is like Pinot grapes, in that it is a fussy grape variety, and has a late ripening phase and particular soil preferences. However it is extremely undervalued throughout the world, and you can find great examples of this wine for less than $20.00 a bottle.
So onto the actual wine itself, and what should we be looking for? To start off, which young woman loves the taste of Moscarto? Yes. That over-sweet diabetes concealed in wine form. Admit it, there are many of you out there.
Well think of Gewürztraminer as the grown up version of Moscarto. The flavours and aromas are similar, but more robust, and as an added bonus you don’t get that sugar aftertaste that makes you feel like you have consumed undiluted cordial.
In cooler climates, this wine will be rather acidic and you will notice the smell of grapefruit on the nose, at the other end, in warm climates, you will smell pineapple and candied fruit sweetness. But like Goldilocks, if you get the balance just right, you are sitting in a nice little spot. For when the acid and sweetness is in balance it is like a good Chinese dish. The two work well together and you start sitting in Lychee/rose petal territory, and this is one of the defining characters of this wine. The wine is sweeter than most white wine varieties, thanks to the late ripening phase, and smell on the nose, your senses detect it as a sweeter wine and this transfers onto the palate. Just think along the lines of – You can not taste without the ability to smell.
So now that we have addressed the wine, lets think about what kind of food that it goes with.
Meats: Chicken, Duck, Bacon, Crab and Prawns, get it among Middle Eastern and Indian foods, that use a lot of spices. This wine pairs well with these dishes, and brings even more life to aromatic dishes.
Cheese: (Though I despise cheese and wine pairing) Stick it alongside the likes of a Brie or Camembert.
Vegetables: Roasted vegetables with a natural sweetness to them, Red Capsicum, Carrot, Red Onion and Artichoke.
Therefore, for those Moscarto lovers out there, try moving onto this wine in the future, and for those who want to venture outside of their comfort zone when it comes around to summer time, try a Gewürztraminer. You will be pleasantly surprised and pleased by it’s sweet tasting nature and acidity balance while not being dull and lifeless like it’s noble brother the Sauvignon Blanc, which to me, needs food pairing.
The SA Wine Guy