Although I’ve occasionally had a dry, austere French Gewürztraminer, they tend to be full-bodied and round, sometimes a little oily in texture, with explosive fruit aromas and some residual sugar to balance the characteristic bitterness on the finish. But all that ripeness means low acidity—it’s a naturally low acid grape anyway and the Alsatians are prohibited from adding acid in the winery.
I enjoy that style of Gewurztraminer—it’s a unique grape, unmistakable, and a welcome respite from the acid-driven white wine styles that are more common.
This wine is not one of those. It has the expected lychee and floral aromas cloaked in a halo of ginger—a very representative nose. But this wine seems almost bone dry, light in body with orange zest turning to lime and enough acidity to rip the enamel of your teeth. Well, I’m exaggerating a bit. But the acidity is piercing with no hint of a waxy or oily texture and a long acid-driven finish that evolves from lime to fresh spring water and back to lime all buttressed by a layer of bitter notes that are left in tact with no sugarcoating.
In short there is no concession to easy or lush. An acid head’s reverie. A solid wine if you like this style. But of course it’s from the Willamette Valley, Oregon where acid is king.
It is always interesting to taste offbeat expressions of a varietal, taking things in a new direction. The Willamette Valley is Pinot country; Gewurztraminer is one of its charming secrets.
Serve with some Acidhead by John Schofield. 1968 was never this good.