WINE SCHOOL 26 January 2015 - 1 February 2015

REGION: France > Alsace

The Alsace region is geographically and stylistically closer to German wine regions than other French wine regions. Located in the north eastern corner of France, Alsace is a long, narrow region extending some 100km from north to south, wedged between the Vosges mountains and the Rhine river.

Key grapes: Gewürztraminer, Riesling


GRAPE: Gewurztraminer

Highly and distinctively scented, Gewurtztraminer is one of the wine world's most divisive grapes. Some wine lovers, having fallen totally under its spell, are ardent devotees. Others find the spectacular cocktail of tropical and citrus fruits, roses, stone and spice, too much to stomach.

Most famously associated with Alsace, where it frequently reaches pinnacles of greatness, its origins can be traced to the Alto Adige in northern Italy. Gewurtztraminer ripens readily and so is best suited to cooler climates that allow ripening to happen slowly enough. Successful plantings are found in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and, more recently, cooler vineyards in Australia and New Zealand. The best producers take care to keep yields low to ensure the requisite intensity of perfume.

Gewurtztraminer wines can lack the acidity for long ageing, but high quality wines from good vintages will happily develop for ten years or more, slowly converting the exuberant fruit of youth to a more mellow, honeyed complexity.

In a world where wines so often chase fashions or strive for lowest-common-denominator conformity, open a bottle of Gewurtztraminer and raise a glass to authenticity and individuality.

Synonyms: Traminer (Austria), Tramini (Hungary), Traminer Aromatico (Italy)

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