Blind Wine Tasting Notes: Gewurztraminer

I recently began hosting biweekly blind tastings at my home as a series of small-group learning experiences. Five of us got together last Thursday evening to taste Gewurztraminer wines.

Gewurztraminers, with their floral, spicy aromatics and slightly sweet lychee-nut taste, are an excellent match for fresh fruit and cheeses and a good complement to many simple fish and chicken dishes, especially recipes that include pepper spices, oriental five-spice, or even curry. These are especially excellent wines to serve chilled in warm weather, and I complemented them with slices of sourdough bread and Chevre, Gruyere, and Boursin cheeses; one bottle’s label suggests trying Munster or blue-veined cheeses.

Of the five wines we compared, three were produced in Alsace, France; one originates from Alexander Valley in California; and one is from New Zealand. As you’ll see from the results below – and being no great surprise to me – the Alsatian wines tallied well with the group.

The wines listed below are ranked top-down, most favorite to least favorite; each is followed by the wine’s heat (alcohol content). If no link exists for a particular label, that label is quite possibly no longer available.

In the left column is the actual group score for each wine using my 20-point Wine Scoring Sheet.

Group Ranking
+3: 2003 Domaines Schlumberger, Fleur, Alsace, France; 13.5%
+1: 2003 Pierre Sparr, Alsace, France; 13.5%
-1: 2003 Domaines Schlumberger, Fleur, Alsace, France; 13.5%
-1: 2004 Huia, Marlborough Vineyard, New Zealand; 14.5%
-2: 2005 New Gewurz North Coast, Alexander Valley Vineyards, Healdsburg; 12.8%

Winehiker’s Ranking
2003 Domaines Schlumberger, Fleur, Alsace, France; 13.5%
2003 Pierre Sparr, Alsace, France; 13.5%
2004 Huia, Marlborough Vineyard, New Zealand; 14.5%
2003 Domaines Schlumberger, Fleur, Alsace, France; 13.5%
2005 New Gewurz North Coast, Alexander Valley Vineyards, Healdsburg; 12.8%

The Alsace appellation was a definite influence on my purchase of the Schlumberger; the interesting aspect being that at this particular tasting, we scored two identical bottles. Why did one win group favor and the other take third place? Probably because I had poured mine right out of the refrigerator; the other, though having been chilled all day, had ample chance to warm up inside an attendee’s car on an evening that was a tad above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The group, on such an evening, easily favored the cooler of the two.

My picks were fairly consistent with the group’s; I definitely like my Gewurz’s chilled. Conclusion: you sure can’t miss with those Alsatian Gewurztraminers!

~winehiker

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