Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I mean really right around the corner, 6 days away! It very well may be my favorite holiday. Not only is it a holiday that is truly focused on being together with the family and friends you love (gifts? Leave them at home!), but it is the equivalent holiday of the SuperBowl for foodies and winos. Seriously. No holiday comes close other than maybe the 4th of July, which I also get anxious just thinking of all of the delicious Barbecue I’ll get to consume…I digress. It is Thanksgiving we need to be focused on right now and the wine of the week is just what you want to be bringing to the table. Enter the Dowsett Family 2012 Gewürztraminer.
Now before we can appreciate the wine of the week we need to have a discussion about the varietal at play – Gewürztraminer. Gah-vurz-tra-mee-ner. Originating in Germany, spreading across the Alps, and being arguably perfected in Alsace, Gewürztraminer is one of the 18 noble grapes. Other noble grapes you’ve probably heard of include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, and so on. So how did all of these other grape varietals grow to such well known stature, while Gewürztraminer took the back seat? Is it because it tastes funky? Absolutely not. This varietal is amazing. The best theory that is most widely believed as to why its’ popularity hasn’t grown to the levels of its brethren is marketing. Which sounds sexier – Chardonnay or Gewürztraminer? The curse of a hard to pronounce, hard to remember, less-beautiful name. But don’t worry Gewürztraminer. There are many of us out there that know your beauty and will evangelize your quality and strengths until the day we die.
Gewurtztraminer also lacks the global production scale that is really necessary to become a household name. There are approximately 20,000 acres of Gewurtztraminer vines planted across the globe. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, no. As our friends over at Wine Folly state. For every 1 vine of Gewürztraminer, there are 30 vines of Cabernet Sauvignon and 4 vines of Riesling. Beginning to see how tiny the production really is of this varietal?
The Wine Profile
This small global production does not mean that it is not a worthy wine. Gewürztraminer has wonderful aromas of honey, allspice, and ginger. The flavors? Oh my gosh. We’re talking lychee, pineapple, apricot, and grapefruit. Doesn’t this varietal sound delicious?!
Gewürztraminer can be a tad tricky to find a good bottle. The examples you’ll find at your traditional grocery store are likely going to have high residual sugar content. You’re going to want to find a small producer, and this likely means a slightly higher price point But remember, it is going to be worth it. Want a great example? Splurge on the wine of the week: Dowsett Family Winery 2012 Gewürztraminer. I snagged a bottle at Esquin Wines for $22.
Dowsett Family Winery
Chris Dowsett started Dowsett Family Winery with the goal of producing the wines he loves in the style he enjoys. He lets the true varietal characteristics shine through. The production levels on his wines can only be called micro – around 400 cases of each. Oh, and he only produces 2 wines at the time of writing this. Know what that means? This wine is getting some serious love and attention. Chris also happens to be the winemaker for Buty Winery in Walla Walla, WA, a winery that is well known for producing outstanding wines.
Tasting the Wine of the Week
So what about the Gewürztraminer? Opening the bottle and pouring it in to your glass, you are immediately struck by a beautiful aroma of lychee and white flower with a touch of pineapple. I mean, this was a truly mouthwatering aroma. Pure bliss.
Giving it some swirls in the glass and taking a sip, you are next struck by the fact that residual sugar is not at play here at all. This was taken to a dry state, and that is wonderful thing. It lets your palette enjoy the fruit notes and spices instead of the sugar. It has beautiful flavors of allspice and the return of lychee with a hint of starfruit.
Reading through this flavor profile can you see why it would be a perfect pair for a Thanksgiving meal? It’s going to pair excellently with your Turkey, it will accent your cranberry sauce, and pull out flavor’s in Aunt Judy’s green bean casserole you never knew existed.
Chris Dowsett is doing something great for Washington State by showcasing how well Gewürztraminer grows in the region, but more importantly he’s doing something great for a varietal that has sat in the backseat for far too long. It’s time that you gave this varietal a shot, and starting with a glass of the Dowsett Family 2012 Gewürztraminer, is a sure fire way to turn yourself in to a believer of this grape and its potential.