You’ve likely drunk Gewürztraminer wine previously. It’s one of the most aromatic grape varieties worldwide.
How is your knowledge of Gewürztraminer from Alto Adige? Have you ever tasted it?
Gewürztraminer offers several interesting wines from Alto Adige.
It’s the third most grown grape variety, following Pinot Grigio and Schiava. Its cultivation zone covers 10.9% of the entire wine production area, or 605 ha to be exact.
Now I want to share with you the reasons why Gewürztraminer from Alto Adige is so loved.
Initially, we will analyse its main characteristics as a grape. After that, we will talk about its typical profile in Alto Adige, with a focus on the different areas, including some food pairings. Finally, we will taste three Gewürztraminer wines.
Are you ready?
The word Gewürztraminer means literally “spiced Traminer” (Gewürz is a German word that stands for “spice”).
Gewürztraminer is well known for its pronounced aromas of lychees, rose petals, and sweet spices.
It’s an early budding and early ripening variety of grape. From this point of view, it’s similar to Pinot Noir.
A light pink colour characterises its thick skins, but the wine obtained has a yellow colour.
The wines made from Gewürztraminer have low levels of acidity, medium to high alcohol, and are medium to full body.
It’s a vigorous variety but it suffers from coulure, so the yields are not high.
Other areas around the world where you can find the best expressions of Gewürztraminer are France (Alsace particularly), Germany, New Zealand, Oregon, and Washington.
3 things to know about Gewürztraminer from Alto Adige
1. Its typical profile
Nowadays, the wines made from Gewürztraminer in Alto Adige are more elegant than in the past. They show the main aromas of rose petals, cloves, lychees, and other tropical fruits.
It’s mainly grown in Bassa Atesina, Oltradige, Bolzano and the Isarco Valley. Let’s analyse more in-depth how Gewürztraminer wines vary in each of these regions.
It’s the most famous area for Gewürztraminer from Alto Adige, centred around the villages of Termeno (Tramin) and Cortaccia (Kurtatsch). It seems that Termeno has lent its name to the Gewürztraminer variety.
Here, the soil has a mixture of limestone (dolomite rock) and clay.
The aromas reveal a high complexity and they’re characterised by ripe stone fruits (apricot and peach), apple and pear. The wines from this area have low acidity, high alcohol and a full body.
Oltradige is close to Bassa Atesina and the wine styles are quite similar. Its soils consist of limestone and porphyry.
In this case, the bouquet is noted for the intensity of the aromas and not for its complexity. The wines here have a pronounced aroma of roses. The acidity is still low.
The vineyards of Gewürztraminer are located in the highest part of the Bolzano area, around 450/500 m above sea level. These soils have large quantities of clay.
The aromas of the wine are characterised by passion fruit and yellow flowers, lychee is present but with lower intensity. The alcohol is quite high.
Here you can find elegant expressions of Gewürztraminer. The wines cannot have a full body due to the different characteristics of the area when compared to others.
Gewürztraminer grows at an average altitude of 600 m above sea level. The soil is morainic and sandy. So, the taste is marked by higher acidity, freshness, and saltiness while the aromas are mainly on tropical fruits.
Gewürztraminer wines with a similar style can be found in Val Venosta. There, the soil has limestone, so the acidity of the wine is crisper.
2. Sweet style
Gewürztraminer is also able to offer delicious sweet wines, thanks to its profile. The production in a sweet style is very limited though. For this reason, my suggestion is to try it just once.
There are several techniques to ensure sweet Gewürztraminer wines, such as late harvest, drying grapes off the vine, or by noble rot.
3. Traditional pairings
Gewürztraminer is the perfect match for a lot of dishes thanks to its aromatics.
The most recommended pairings are Asian food, shellfish, and as an aperitif for the dry version. Off-dry and medium-dry are preferred with foie gras, while the sweet style compliments dessert and blue cheese.
As you can see, Gewürztraminer wines from Alto Adige have different styles. The wine can be more or less good with a particular dish, depending on the region of production. For example, Gewürztraminer from the Isarco Valley can be delicious with light courses based on freshwater fish like Arctic char or trout.
Why not try for yourself?
Franz Haas Gewürztraminer 2019
The vineyards which produce this wine are located between 350 m and 650 m above sea level. Only stainless steel tanks are used with frequent lees stirring (bâtonnage) during the ageing to improve its complexity.
The colour is a medium lemon. On the nose, you can recognise the aromas of lychee, apricot, clove, fennel, and rose. The acidity of the wine is medium-, the alcohol is medium, the body is full, and the finish is long.
Gump Hof Gewürztraminer Praesulis 2019
Gewürztraminer for this wine grows in the southern part of the Isarco Valley. The altitude of the vineyards is 400-500 m above sea level. During the winemaking process, only stainless steel tanks are used.
The wine has a pale lemon colour. White peach, pear, apple, blossom, and pineapple are the main aromas that you can detect. Medium acidity, high alcohol, medium body, and a medium+ finish complete the taste.
Meran Gewürztraminer Graf 2019
The vineyards are located at an altitude of 400-500 m above sea level in the area of Lagundo, Tirolo, Labers, and Lana. Stainless steel tanks are also used for vinification and ageing.
Its colour is a pale lemon. The nose detects the aromas of rose, lychee, mango, lemon, and apricot. The taste has medium- acidity, high alcohol, full body, and a long finish.
Which Gewürztraminer from Alto Adige would you like to taste?
Now you can taste Gewürztraminer from Alto Adige like a pro. You know the differences between the areas and how the altitude influences the final wine.
Termeno and Cortaccia are the most famous places for Gewürztraminer in Alto Adige.
Usually, the wines show low acidity, high alcohol and full body at low altitudes. The valleys (Isarco and Val Venosta) give a lighter body and more floral and tropical aromas to the wine than other winegrowing regions.
The profile of the aromas changes according to the altitude. At low altitude, you can find complexity, while intensity can be found at high altitudes.
What’s the next Gewürztraminer from Alto Adige you will uncork? There is a great selection available on the website of the Consortium of Alto Adige Wines. Just select Gewürztraminer on the variety filter and you will discover all the wine producers.