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Wine Glossary

Definition: Gewürztraminer

[guh-VURTS-trah-mee-ner] Cultivated for over a thousand years, this white-wine grape (sometimes referred to simply as Traminer) is thought to have originated in the village of Tramin (or Temeno) in Italy's Alto Adige region. Although this variety is not now widely planted in Alto Adige, some of the better Gewürztraminer wines still come from that region. Gewürztraminer grapes are planted in Alsace, a French region between Germany and France that specializes in excellent dry Gewürztraminer wines. They're also cultivated in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Ukraine. Because they perform better in cooler climates, Gewürztraminer grapes have not done well in many of California's warmer growing regions. However, they thrive in cooler California areas such as Carneros, Anderson Valley and Monterey county, as well as in parts of Oregon and Washington. Down under, New Zealand's cooler climate is better than Australia's for this grape. The German word Gewürtz means "spiced," and these wines are known for their crisp, spicy attributes. They're highly fragrant, with flavor characteristics of litchis, roses (or flowers in general), and spices such as cloves and nutmeg. Gewürztraminer wines are available in varying degrees of sweetness-dry, medium-sweet, and late harvest. Because of the grape's pinkish (sometimes yellow) pigment, Gewurtztraminer wines are some of the more deeply colored of the whites, many have gold or peach tones. The distinctive color and aroma of these wines make them easily recognizable by those familiar with this varietal wine. This is a wine that's best drunk fairly young-even vintage Gewürztraminers rarely age well over 5 years.

Source: Answers.com; Wine Lover's Companion - R & S Herbst

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