Gewürztraminer is an aromatic wine grape variety, used in white wines, and it performs best in cooler climates.
The history of the Traminer family is complicated, and not helped by its rather unstable genome. The story starts with the ancient Traminer variety, a green-skinned grape that takes its name from the village of Tramin, located in South Tyrol. The famous ampelographer Pierre Galet thought that Traminer was identical to the green-skinned Savagnin Blanc. More recently it has been suggested that Savagnin blanc acquired slight differences in its leaf shape and geraniol content as it traveled to the other end of the Alps.
Frankisch in Austria, Gringet in Savoie, Heida in Switzerland, Formentin in Hungary and Grumin from Bohemia are all very similar to Savagnin blanc and probably represent clones of the Traminer family, if not Traminer itself.
At some point, either Traminer or Savagnin blanc mutated into a form with pink-skinned berries, called Red Traminer or Savagnin Rose. Galet believed that a musqué ('muscat-like') mutation in the Red Traminer/Savagnin rose then led to the extra-aromatic Gewürztraminer, although in Germany these names are all regarded as synonymous.
Traminer is recorded in Tramin from ca. 1000 until the 16th century. It was spread down the Rhine to Alsace, by way of the Palatinate, where Gewürz (spice) was added to its name – presumably, this was when one of the mutations happened.
Gewürztraminer is particularly fussy about soil and climate. The vine is vigorous, even unruly, but it hates chalky soils and is very susceptible to disease.
The Gewürztraminer variety has high natural sugar and the wines are white and usually off-dry, with a flamboyant bouquet of lychees. Indeed, Gewürztraminer and lychees share the same aroma compounds. Dry Gewürztraminers may also have aromas of roses, passion fruit, and floral notes. It is not uncommon to notice some spritz (fine bubbles on the inside of the glass).
Most Gewürztraminers are usually considered semi-dry, so they are a bit sweet, but that also makes them much lower in alcohol than your usual wine.
However, Gewürztraminer’s sweet taste also means that, for many people, a headache could start to develop after a few glasses. So, if you are susceptible to wine headaches, you may only want to have a glass or two.
Gewürztraminer's sweetness may offset the spice in Asian cuisine.
To see all our Gewürztraminer white wines follow this link: https://meller-biowine.com/collections/gewurztraminer