Focus on Varietals: Gewurztraminer
Gewurztraminer is the hard-to-say name of a unique and aromatic grape varietal that belongs to the Vitis Vinifera family. The varietal, originally called Savagnin blanc (not the widely-known Sauvignon blanc), comes from the Traminer region of northern Italy and has become known as Traminer there. Over time Gewurztraminer made its way into Germany and developed into the spicier varietal that we know today. In fact, the word Gewurz is German for spice.
During veraison, “the final stage in the grape growing process”, the fruit starts to change color on the vine and develop a beautiful bronze colour before harvest. As Gewurztraminer is a white wine, the juice is not fermented on the skins as this is what gives a wine its primary color.
Gewurztraminer is an ideal grape varietal for the cool climate grape growing region of Niagara Peninsula and produces medium to full bodied white wines with intensely fruity and floral aromas. It is somewhat of a cult varietal due to its intensity and distinct character.
Gewurztraminer can be made in a variety of wine styles from fully dry to off dry to sweet. Food pairings for Gewurztraminer are vast as it is a wine which can stand up to diverse and flavorful dishes. These wines work beautifully with Asian cuisine like spicy Thai, or aromatic dishes consisting of ginger, saffron or curry. Western style dishes are also greatly complimented by Gewurztraminer like the tradition turkey dinner, as the complexity of these wines works well with the many flavors involved.
At Strewn we have successfully worked with this captivating varietal for more than 24 years and produced a variety of styles, including from time to time, a unique barrel aged Gewurztraminer. We currently have three wines made from Gewurztraminer, two of which are dry wines, only available at the winery or through our online store.
Our top-tier 2017 Terrior Gewurztraminer ($28) displays a spicy, earthy-floral character and shows good length and viscosity on the palate. Early in 2020 we sent the wine to the top two international wine competitions in France and are delighted to share that it won Gold at both Citadelles du Vin and International Challenge du Vin.
Strewn’s second winery-exclusive Gewurztraminer is the 2018 Distinctive Small Lot Gewurztraminer Divergent ($24). This wine is made in a fruit forward and aromatic style with a fresher finish to appeal to a wider audience. It was extremely popular this past summer with our patio tastings and received a 90-point score from Natalie MacLean.
And finally Strewn has long produced a top selling, semi-dry, Two Vines Riesling-Gewurztraminer for the LCBO market ($13.95). This wine combines Riesling, which provides lovely acidity, and Gewurztraminer, which delivers aromatics and body. It recently received a score of 90 points from Carolyn Evans Hammond in the Toronto Star and may also be purchased online (free courier shipping with any 12-bottle order).