Gorgeous gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer grapes (Photo: Via wine.com)

New Zealand gewürztraminer is, at best, a world-beater. OK, I accept that Alsace has got us beat but we must surely come in second, or possibly third as far as world domination goes. The simple fact is that very few countries grow gewürztraminer, so there’s not much competition.

Gewürztraminer can be fickle at flowering, so viticulturists hate it. Consumers find it too floral and have difficulty pronouncing it, so marketers hate it. Winemakers don’t seem particularly keen on it either, perhaps because of roller-coaster cropping levels.

If it wasn’t for my love of Thai curries I’d probably be lukewarm on the variety as well. gewürztraminer is my go-to wine when I plan to enjoy my favourite Thai dish — vegetable and chickpea fritters in a green curry sauce. A good gewürztraminer has the strength of flavour and subliminal sweetness needed to make a special partnership with a good Thai curry.

I recently tasted a bunch of local examples, with a couple of exceptional Aussies thrown in for good measure. I cannot recall tasting an Australian gewürztraminer that I enjoyed. But the 2006 Henschke Joseph Hill Gewürztraminer is something special. 2006! The wine tasted fresh and lively, with classic rose petal and spicy characters. I enjoyed a 2016 vintage of the same wine but the 2006 was outstanding. (NZD $55)

From Marlborough, the 2016 Lawson’s Dry Hills Gewürztraminer is always good and a bargain at this price. I remember asking the late Ross Lawson how he managed to make cracker gewürztraminer year after year. “I dunno, that’s how it comes out” was the self-effacing reply. We tasted a decade of his standard gewürztraminer, which seemed to get better as it got older. (NZD $25)

The 2016 Mt Difficulty Growers Series Station Block Pisa Range Gewürztraminer from Central Otago is quite a mouthful to order, but this moderately sweet, creamy -textured wine is an equal mouthful to taste. Absolutely delicious wine – the perfect aperitif! (NZD $27

Also from Central Otago, the 2016 Chard Farm Gewürztraminer offers a wonderful combination of purity and power. It’s the quintessential Central Otago gewürztraminer in an off-dry style that flatters the variety by emphasising yet restraining fruit flavour. My mouth is watering as I think of it. (NZD $32)

The 2016 Spy Valley Gewürztraminer from Marlborough is another wine that’s always near the head of the field and offering excellent value at this price. (NZD $23)

Interesting that all of my top Kiwi wines are from the 2016 vintage, although that’s more likely to be the result of a sluggish market than a stellar vintage. They have another thing in common – they all offer excellent value – if you like Thai curry.

6 thoughts on “Gorgeous gewürztraminer”

  1. Bob Campbell MW
    Bob Campbell MW says:

    I’d like to share the recipe for vegetable and chick pea fritters in a green curry sauce but you will have to go to Monsoon restaurant in Devonport to experience it.

  2. Mahmoud Ali says:

    Only a week ago I had a 2009 Delatite ‘Dead Man Hill’ Gewurztraminer that was very nice, lots of depth and intensity. The only other Australian gewurztraminer that I liked was a Knappstein, something that they told me they had given up on when I was at cellar door back in 2001.

  3. Garry says:

    Bob, meant to ask what happened to Ross Revington/Revington vineyard?

  4. Garry says:

    Davey, I would second you on the Delatite gewurz, but last few years not so enamoured. Malcolm, I also loved the Denis Irwin gewurz of years ago, have you tried the new owners gewurz? Another one I remember was the Revington gewurz again away back in the past. Bob are you going to share your recipe with us? The gewurz is a phenomenal match with Thai, I prefer a level of sweetness as it brings out more of the typical characters of gewurz. Another gewurz which can sing on occasion is the Dry River. My wine loving friends are amused by my love of gewurz.

  5. Davey Jai Dickens says:

    I purchased a half dozen ’08 Pirie Gerwurztraminer from Browns Bros last year for $10 a bottle. It was an utterly delightful aged white. And I’ve always found Delatite in Mansfield Vic make a very good ‘GT’ but I haven’t compared them to the Kiwis. I tried a Lawsons a few years back and thought it drinkable though nothing spesh. You’re absolutely right about Thai food match. Green Thai veg curry with a 8 year old Delatite 95 Gerwurztraminer was one of my most memorable food-wine experiences. Sublime.

  6. Malcolm Cawley says:

    Hi Bob, as you know we enjoy gewurtz. How do you think these compare to the Matawhero of the mid 70’s? It’s hard to remember that far back, but it converted us forever.
    Cheers Malcolm

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