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Gewurztraminer

The etymology and history of this grape are tricky, given the unstable nature of the grape’s genome. It is widely thought to be a mutation of Savagnin – a grape grown mostly in the Jura region of France – but it could also have come directly from the Traminer grape, as its name suggests. Translated as “Spice Traminer” from the German, it has been linked etymologically with the Traminer grape, but its genetic history is still unclear. Either way, it has found its home in the Alsace region of Eastern France, where it used to produce wonderfully aromatic white wines.

Interestingly, Gewürztraminer has the same aroma compounds as lychees – a scent that is often associated with it. Other common descriptors are rose, musk, blossom and passionfruit. The wines tend to be off-dry, with any residual sugars being amplified by the wines naturally very aromatic profile. Even when fermented dry, there is a perceived sweetness to Gewürztraminer, from the lychee and rose aromas.

Apart from Alsace, Gewürz is grown in Germany, Northern Italy, the U.S., New Zealand and Australia, to name a few. Because of its off-dry style, it is a wine that matches very well to some spicy Asian cuisines, the sugars being a natural antidote to the chilli heat and intensity of flavour. It can also be paired with a range of cheeses.