Wine Reviews: Alsace Gewürztraminer

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 09-15-2018

If you’re a frequent reader of these wine reviews, you may have seen me sing praises of Alsace. I love this region, which I first began exploring in high school, and its wines. But while Riesling and grapes from the extended Pinot family tend to be my favorite options, I have a lot of love for Gewürztraminer as well.

I love the intensity of floral and spice aromas, the rich, tropical, lychee-infused flavors. But as a huge fan of acidity in wine, Gewürz can present some problems. High sugar and low acidity can be an issue in some of the wines. But when sourced from the right spots (especially from Alsace’s calcareous soils) the wines are like nothing else. And the food pairing options (from autumnal soups to spicy pad Thai) can be uniquely satisfying. Considering there’s only about 20,000 acres of Gewürz planted on the planet, and Alsace is home to some 7,000 of those acres, there’s no better place to go if you’re looking to explore this aromatic white grape variety.

I recently received a few sample bottles of Gewürztraminers from Alsace, and tasted them single-blind. My reviews are below.

thumbnail2016 Meyer-Fonné Gewurztraminer ReserveFrance, Alsace
SRP: $24
Medium yellow color. Ripe aromatics of guava, quince, lychee and passion fruit, along with honeysuckle, clover patch and white pepper. Plump and boisterous texture on the palate, waxy and honeyed, but some moderate acidity tries to balance the sweetness. Plush tropical melee of pineapple, guava, lychee and papaya, along with honey, herbal tea, spicy clove and white pepper. Full, rich, yummy. 12% alcohol. (87 points)

2016 Beck-Hartweg Gewurztraminer Cuvée PrestigeFrance, Alsace
SRP: $20
Light yellow color. Such spicy aromatics, as cut flower stems, tobacco, magnolia petals, nettle and clove mix with lychee and guava fruit. Waxy texture with noticeable sugar, but medium acidity that keeps this rather balanced. Oranges, lychee, guava, the juicy fruit plays well with mangnolia, dandelion, clove and white pepper, and I get notes of sweet honey and exotic spice as well. Grows on me with air as complexity pops. Impressive. (90 points)

2016 Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer CalcaireFrance, Alsace
SRP: $43
Medium yellow color. Rich aromatics of pineapple, apricot jam and lychee along with complex honeysuckle, clove, spiced tea and dandelion. Rich and plump on the palate, but the acidity comes through and keeps this one fresh and kicking (more so than the others in this lineup). Creamy pineapple, guava and lemon curd fruit mixes well with spiced, honeyed white tea, minerals, chalky notes, and a nutty-lychee component. Delicious, rich, but so vibrant, age-worthy too. From 30-year-old vines in calcareous soils, aged 18 months in old French oak, 12.5% alcohol. (91 points)

2014 Domaine Saint-Rémy Gewurztraminer RosenbergFrance, Alsace
SRP: $28
Deep yellow color. A tropical burst on the nose with peach nectar, guava, honey, bold floral perfume and spicy, waxy elements. Rich texture on the palate, plush and slightly waxy but fresh acidity moderates and livens up the wine. Oranges, guava, pineapple and lychee, dusted with mineral, spiced tea, floral perfume, rosewater, white pepper. I wager this could age nicely for quite a few years. Beautiful stuff. (90 points)

Comments (2)

  1. I like Gewurztraminer because it’s s difficult to ‘get’. Incredibly disappointing at occasions, but at other times so beguiling that you just want to keep getting back to it. Love it more in the normal version than in VT or SGN though, often a bit over the top in the latter cases.

  2. Peter – I love your description of Gewurztraminer and agree. It’s a bit like really obscure, outsider music or other art – frustrating at times, totally exciting at others, sometimes wondering if you even “like” it, but keeps you coming back. Cheers!