I love Gewurztraminer, a wine so flamboyant it’s the drag queen of the wine world. But it grows well only in cool climates. The California versions are so ripe they lack acidity or are made from grapes picked too early and so never deliver the over-the-top aromas Gewurz lovers love. The cool climate Finger Lakes on the other hand is Gewurztraminer heaven. Almost every winery makes one and they are usually dead on, with explosive flavors, a slightly oily, fat body and a finish so bitter it makes Planet of the Apes seem like a comedy. Well, Ok that’s an exaggeration.
Lamoreux Landing’s Gewurztraminer is representative.
The perfumed nose unfolds to reveal hints of lychee supported by grapefruit and lime zest. In the mouth, the citrus spine is enlivened by tropical fruits and mineral notes that make the wine feel fresh despite the medium body and slight, glycerin texture. It finishes with that passionate bitter note that demands a tear in the eye despite all the joyous bouquet. With sugar, acidity, and bitterness in equipoise it’s heady without being rambunctious. The lanolin and alcohol are under control. Once you make peace with the bitter finish of a Gewurztraminer romance may commence.
Gewurztraminer can be a wonderful food wine if you’re serving something spicy with some heft. I served it with chicken braised in coconut milk, ginger and Mexican chorizo—Gewurz and coconut were made for each other.
Gewurztraminer is a Bjork wine—flamboyant but weighty with combustible melodies and the bittersweet lyric of “Hyperballad”