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Autochthonous South Tyrolean vine, documented news of it in Termeno (Tramin, Bz) since 1145. In Italian we call it Traminer Aromatico, it is intense, sparkling, with exotic and disturbing aromas, creamy in the mouth, persistent, with a bouquet ready to explode at any moment. The exuberance of Gewurztraminer is very recognisable, palpable and alcoholic, even if its spicy charge based on cloves, pepper and gingerbread, so unusual for a white, invites you to a "reading" that is never trivial. Outside of Italy, it is successfully grown in various parts of the world; the wines of the Rhine valley deserve a particular mention: the Alsatian ones are steeped in spices, intense, dry and pungent, with strong tropical hints and fantastic acidity, while those of the German bank (Gewurz = spice, in German), are less combative and often a residual sugar is perceived which makes the wine smoother. In short, an invitation to experiment with the different versions and types to find the most satisfying and exciting one!
If you are wondering which is the best Gewurtztraminer in South Tyrol , the answer...is not easy at all! They are all so good! Gewurztraminer is a very glamorous wine, known and in great demand for its unique, unmistakable characteristics. It is certainly known for its explosion of aromas as soon as we smell it in the glass: a riot of flowers and tropical fruit, spices, white and yellow flowers; the taste is soft, intense, powerful, in short, it is a truly intriguing white wine. Its origins are probably South Tyrolean, even if recent researches give conflicting results. This grape would therefore be born in Termeno , in the plain of Bolzano, a beautiful medieval village which, in German, responds to the name of Tramin ; " gewurz " on the other hand means "spicy", which we could also translate (in the language of wine) with "aromatic" or more simply "perfumed", given its exuberant sensory characteristics. If in Alto Adige, Gewurztraminer wines express recognizable characteristics of freshness and aroma, in the French region of Alsace , where this grape knows just as much luck, it instead takes on more marked peculiarities, both in terms of intensity and in terms of strength and of power, which then develop and evolve into surprising longevity.
WHERE GEWURZTRAMINER IS BORN
It is a vine born in the North , where there is a temperate climate, with rather rigid winters and not too hot summers; this is why it has also adapted perfectly in various countries such as France , Germany and Austria , naturally expressing itself in different ways, depending on the terroir (that is, climate, soil and local culture). It is however very probable, as we said, that the name and the original grape variety come from Tramin, in Alto Adige, and from here they crossed the Alps, up to Alsace. In fact, the first Gewurztraminer wine is traced around 1240, produced between northern France and southern Germany. At the time, the vine was not the one we know today, it seems it even had a red berry, but it seems that the mutations that led to this grape acquiring the characteristic pinkish-brown color of the berry then took place in Alsace. Findings lead to the fact that the vine took the full name of Gewurztraminer for the first time, always in Alsace, around 1870. It is also curious to know that traces of the original Traminer remain in the area of Heiligenstein, in Alsace, but also in Alto Adige, in the now rare version of the "non-aromatic" Traminer. The reason for its "lesser" diffusion in the world (quantitatively speaking), compared to other grapes, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon, is mainly due to the difficulty of cultivation and therefore to its proverbial uncertainty regarding the harvest. In terms of fruit, its acid content is rather low, while it is rich in sugars; the consequence is that gewurztraminer wines are generally quite alcoholic. This is why it is not a grape suitable for hot areas . In areas where it is successfully cultivated, Gewürztraminer is however capable of making wines of extraordinary elegance and aromatic complexity. Besides France and Germany, Gewürztraminer is also successfully cultivated in Switzerland , Spain and Hungary , where the grape is known as Tramini . There are other European countries where Gewürztraminer is produced, such as Slovenia , where it is known under the name of Traminac , while in the Czech Republic and Slovakia it is called Drumin , Pinat Cervena or Liwora. In the United States of America , Gewürztraminer is present in California , Washington and Oregon . In Australia , it is cultivated in Tasmania and in the state of Victoria , furthermore Gewürztraminer is also present in New Zealand and Chile , in particular in the Bío-Bío area . However, the quantities produced are always small. Despite Gewürztraminer has a low acidity, its wines generally have a good longevity which can even reach, on average, up to 3 or 5 years, being supported by alcohol. As it is a difficult grape to grow, a perfectly balanced wine produced is not easy to make, however when the area and the climate offer the right conditions and this is joined by the skill of the winemaker, Gewürztraminer is capable of giving extraordinary wines. The wines produced with this grape are generally aged in steel containers. The use of cask is pretty rare, therefore it will be difficult to perceive aromas of vanilla or other typical aromas of the aging in wood.
Given the wide diversity of terroirs that we have mentioned, we can identify at least four different styles of this wine: a dry wine with a light body, a dry wine with an important body, a medium-dry wine (a wine tending towards sweet, but dry) and a sweet. Often in dry and full-bodied wines, their structure can be deceiving because the high softness, almost velvety, could be confused with sweetness. The perception of sweetness is instead evident, and really present, in the late harvests and in the Alsatian " Grains Nobles ". Sweetness is also typical in wines produced with grapes affected by the "noble rot", the famous Botrytis Cinerea .
The typical colors of Gewürztraminer are generally more intense than all the other white wines. If in most cases, a white wine has shades of straw yellow, in Gewürztraminer the yellow is golden and intense. The main reason is essentially due to the color of the skin: its pinkish color gives the wine a more intense yellow hue. Over time, the color tends to take on more and more intense golden hues. On the nose, as we have seen, Gewürztraminer is a grape capable of making wines with exuberant and intense aromas , always very recognizable. Aromatic herbs and spices are also richly present in this wine. Among the aromas of exotic fruit, the one which most characterizes this grape is litchi. Other fruit aromas are, besides the grape aroma, peach, pineapple, apricot, pear, citrus fruits, banana and apple. Among the most present aromatic herbs we find sage, however it is also possible to perceive aromas of mint, thyme and oregano. Among the spices, we can recognize cinnamon, nutmeg, anise and licorice. Gewürztraminer produced in areas with a colder climate or in any case not fully ripe, produce wines with more tenuous aromas, in which it is the floral character that is exalted, more than the fruity one. Instead, wines produced in warmer climates, or with ripe grapes, instead develop the full character of intensity and, at times, opulence typical of Gewürztraminer.
Its intense and strong personality, combined with a generally high alcohol content, make it a bit challenging to combine, it is certainly not a wine suitable for all occasions or for light and distracted aperitifs. Its peculiar characteristics must be exploited for wise and original combinations. Lately, modern pairing principles have led to think of exotic , oriental cuisine, such as Indian cuisine, for example. The intense taste and aromas of exotic fruit make Gewurztraminer perfect in combination with dishes with intense sweet and sour and spicy flavours. It is also suitable to accompany grilled fatty fish or soups and highly seasoned white meats.