I don’t know about you, but this is one of those wines I gloss over on the wine list, walk past at the wine shop, and avoid saying out loud at all costs. At #WBC16, I was lucky enough to cure the problem, and let me tell you, it’s about damn time!
Pronounced, Geh-VIRTZ-trah-MEE-ner, the grape originally hails from Italy’s Alto Adige region, an ancient wine growing community in the Dolomites bordering Austria and Switzerland. Italy’s smallest wine growing region makes around 40 million bottles of wine on a yearly basis and is the oldest German speaking winemaking area in the world; they’ve been honing their craft for the last 3,000 years.
The bottle of Gewürztraminer I sampled was an absolute gem. Breakout sessions were scattered throughout the conference, and I had the foresight to attend May Matta-Aliah’s session on the Wines of Alsace. We sampled three typical Alsatian varieties, a Riesling, a Pinot Gris, and finally, the Gewürztraminer. The Riesling and Pinot Gris were both lovely; soft, light and elegant. The Gewürztraminer was a slam dunk. My tasting notes started off with “Wow” and “Incredible”. It was one of those tastes where spitting would be a crime…so I didn’t.
As we were sipping, my new wine friend Laura explained how the word is broken down: Gewürz translates roughly to aromatic or seasoning, Tramin refers to Tramin an der Weinstraße, often abbreviated to Tramin or Termeno, the specific location where the grape comes from, and er means “of”. So, Gewürztraminer pretty much means “aromatic seasoning of Tramin”.
Tasting Notes on the Zind-Humbrecht Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Hengst 2013
A high residual sugar content (45 grams per liter) made this one a bit on the sweeter side. Not something you’d want to drink with dinner, but after dinner, before dinner, with dessert, without dessert, would all work just fine. I got a bright, full mouthful of pineapple and a slight minerality on the extra-long finish. The wine kept going and going; I didn’t want to let it go. It was almost moist, a great, lush mouthfeel; very reminiscent of my Sauternes tasting experience in Bordeaux. This Gewürztraminer has characteristics similar to the Sauternes I tasted, being a sweet wine with great depth and body. I’ll have to try some more of these Alsatian Gewürztraminer beauties and let you know if they’re all as amazing. In the meantime, grab one of these if you can find it.
Maybe not a wine to throw back with your beer-guzzling neighbor, as it will set you back at least $70 if you can find it, but it is certainly something to be shared with loved ones. A highly acclaimed vintage, Wine Enthusiast rated the Zind-Humbrecht 2013 a 94 and Decanter bestowed a 97. Not too shabby.
Grapes for this bottle were grown in the Zind-Humbrecht Hengst Grand Cru vineyards in Wintzenheim, Alsace. The Zind and Humbrecht families joined forces in 1959; their ancestors have been growing grapes in Alsace since 1620.
Until the next glass, Cheers!
 You can read my first recap of the conference here.
 Practice it in the privacy of your home and you’ll be good to go. #thatsnotweird
 The Wine Folly has a great overview of Alto Adagio and the grapes grown there. Check it out.
 The Dolomites have been on my travel bucket list forever, but I had no idea there was wine! Another addition to the Wine Bucket List!
 To put that number in perspective, in 2015, the State of California produced 229 million cases. I don’t understand how this could be possible because that is two billion seven hundred forty-eight million BOTTLES. But, I found it on the internets, so it must be true.
 Wait, but I thought this was Italy? Given that it’s been making wine for 3,000 years, you can imagine that a lot has happened in the area over the past few millennia. A power struggle between Italy and Austria has been going on, pretty much forever, and tensions still run high. Also this.
 America was born in 1776, or 240 years ago. To put that in perspective, this small area of Italy has been producing wine for 2,760 years longer than America has been around. WOW.
 I’m super good at tasting notes.
 Residual sugar generally refers to the sugar content remaining in the wine after fermentation stops or is stopped.
 Ahhhh #FancyinFrancey. That was fun.
 Like your good friend Wine Esquire here.
 Viognier is Vee-own-YAY. Blaufränkisch is Blahw-FRAHN-keesh. And here’s a link to more pronunciations. You’re welcome.