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Are you a Gewurztraminer fan? This aromatic white wine can vary in style from sweet to dry, and depending on its flavor profile, can pair with an array of dishes. Yet Gewurtztraminer’s intoxicating aromas––including lychee, rose petals, mineral, smoke, and savory spices––can be puzzling to pair. Read on to learn some unique Gewurztraminer food pairings and become inspired to try this unique and elegant wine.
What is Gewurztraminer?
Gewurztraminer is a pink grape used to create one of just four Grand Cru wines in the Alsace region. In France, Italy, Slovenia, Romania, Croatia, and many New World regions, winemakers use Gewurztraminer to create white wines and sweet, late harvest wines.
Despite being relatively well known––and despite being produced throughout the world––Gewurztraminer production is actually relatively minimal in comparison to other wines (Cabernet Sauvignon vines outnumber Gewurztraminer 30 to 1!). Worldwide production totals roughly just 20,000 acres.
Gewurztraminer flavor profiles
In general, Gewurztraminer is known for bold flavors and aromas alongside low acidity. However, Gewurztraminer flavors vary depending on its region and the time of year it was harvested (grapes harvested later will yield wines with higher sugar content, since the grapes matured more and developed more sugars while on the vine). White wine Gewurztraminer can exhibit notes of citrus (such as grapefruit), spices (such as nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, allspice, and ginger) and floral notes (like jasmine and rose). Late harvest wines may yield flavors such as apricot and honey
Tips for pairing foods with Gewurztraminer
With such a varying range of sweetness levels, it can be daunting to purchase a Gewurztraminer and pair it with your next meal. Lean on your local wine expert to guide you to purchasing a Gewurztraminer of your taste, and then remember to pair savory dishes with dry Gewurztraminer and sweeter dishes (desserts) with late-harvest or sweeter Gewurztraminer. And try your best to stay away from salty dishes (no french fries or fried chicken with your Gewurtz!). This is because Gewurztraminer can have an aversion to salt, which dulls its bold flavors and aromas. Instead, try spicy and fatty foods (think Asian cuisines and dishes with duck or bacon) and pair “like with like”: seek out savory dishes that use the spices Gewurztraminer is known for.
Bleu cheese and apricots
Search for “Gewurztraminer pairings” and you will most likely stumble upon articles suggesting soft Alsatian cheeses. This is indeed a lovely combination, and should be tried! But take your pairing a step further and try baked or grilled apricots topped with warmed bleu cheese, pistachios, and a drizzle of honey. The honey and sweet grilled or baked apricots offset the saltiness of the bleu cheese (remember, salt is a “no” with Gewurztraminer!) and brings out the delicious savory, sweet, and honey flavors in the wine.
Moroccan plum and apricot tagine
Apricots are again a highlight with this Moroccan dish filled with spices and aromatics. Try a vegetarian version, or a traditional lamb dish that will highlight its many delicious components. The low acidity of Gewurztraminer will accompany the gentle harmony of spices in the dishes, rather than overpower the dish the way a wine with higher acidity (such as Sauvignon Blanc) would.
Khao Soi (noodles with coconut curry)
Khao Soi, a staple dish of Northern Thailand and Laos, is another perfect accompaniment to Gewurztraminer. Khao Soi’s spices (typically ginger, cardamom, coriander and cumin) awaken Gewurtztraminer’s spicy notes, and the wine’s sugars complement the dish’s kick (from chilies) and its sweetness (from coconut milk).
Duck a l’Orange
A flavorful brown sauce made of beef or veal stock is spooned over a roast duck that has been flavored with oranges and a sweet-sour gastric of sugar and vinegar. Could there be a more perfect pairing for Gewurtztraminer’s citrus aromas and sweet flavor profile?
Persian Love Cake (cardamom and rose water cake)
One of Gewurtztraminer’s most interesting pairings is rose water, which brings out the rose aromas that some Gewurztraminer exudes. If you have a Gewurztraminer with this characteristic, this is an excellent opportunity to play with this rose water pairing (and try a dessert that may perhaps be new to you, unless you’re fortunate enough to be familiar with delicious Persian cuisine!).
Take the “like with like” pairing theme, but elevate it with this combination. Gewurztraminer already often exudes ground ginger notes and sweetness: why not combine the two? Try it as a candy dessert, or choose a dessert that uses candied ginger as one of its ingredients.