One of the benefits of being behind the scenes at a winery is the work involving blending trials, where certain tanks or barrels are blended together in varying proportions to determine the best possible wine that can be made. This morning at Montinore, with Stephen's blessing, we gave our final impressions of what will eventually be the 2013 Gewürztraminer. This reminded me of last week's post about Müller-Thurgau, primarily due to the difficulty in pronouncing "Gewürztraminer," another German name for a grape (which happens to be Alsatian in origin; if you're a history buff like me, you know Alsace is neither exactly French nor German). It's a natural segue into discussing this misunderstood grape.
Gewürztraminer literally means "Spice Traminer," but unlike Müller, it's not a cross of two different grapes; it came about as a result of the genetic sequence in Traminer. At one point a particular Traminer vine, typically with green grapes, transitioned into a vine with pinkish-red grapes and high aromatic compounds (the "spice"). Unstable genomes in vines lead to mutations, hence how we get Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and the many different clonal selections of Pinot Noir, as Pinot is also a genetically unstable vine.
The last time we sampled this 2004 Gewürztraminer was just last year, when we were searching for something off-the-wall for an event at IPNC (which is coming up again very soon, coincidentally). We determined it was a lovely wine at the last tasting, and after one more year under its belt it's still holding strong.
The wine pours a deep golden color with floral aromatics of lilac and pink rose petal but also a hint of a briny minerality... it surprisingly reminds me of an aged White Burgundy I had a few years back. There's a certain nuttiness as well, almost like roasted hazelnuts. Baked apple defines the palate, along with some allspice and cardamom. The acid remains perfectly balanced in this Gewürz and it still has time left in its lifespan.
There's not enough of this wine to go around, but to get your Gewürz fix, do try our 2012 Estate Gewürztraminer (an explosion of white grapefruit, lychee, and lime leaf with a lingering finish) and the 2012 Reserve Gewürztraminer (opening with Mandarin orange, honey, and amaro liqueur, finishing with grapefruit and lychee). If you're feeling overwhelmed by white wines recently, don't worry, next week I promise we'll be discussing Pinot Noir.