Gewürztraminer is a white, aromatic grape variety that is named for the village of Tramin located in South Tyrol, a German-speaking province of Italy. However, the traditional home of Gewürztraminer is Alsace, the French wine region located along the German border.
While Gewürztraminer grapes are used to make white wines, the skin color of these grapes is pink or rose in color. Gewürztraminer wines are known for having aromas of lychee, roses, passion fruit and flowers.
In addition to Alsace, Gewürztraminer can be found across Europe in Germany, Austria, Italy (especially the northern wine region of Trentino-Alto Adige), Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Spain, France, and Romania. In the New World, Gewürztraminer finds particularly vibrant expression in New Zealand, in Argentina’s famed Mendoza wine region, in Chile, and even in parts of the Middle East (including the Golan Heights). Within the United States, Gewürztraminer can be found in some wine regions of California (especially Sonoma) and in the Columbia Valley of Washington State.
Within Alsace, Gewürztraminer is the second-most planted variety of grape. Here, it is used to make wines that range from being dry to very sweet. It is also possible to make dessert wines with these grapes.
Generally speaking, Gewürztraminer requires quite a bit of attention from vintners in order to grow properly. These grapes grow best in cooler climates and in soils that are not chalky. They are very susceptible to dramatic swings in climate. Early frosts, for example, can cause problems. Moreover, this grape needs dry and warm summers in order to produce the best vintages.
In terms of food pairings, Gewürztraminer pairs best with wild game, certain types of cheese (especially Muenster), and spicy Asian dishes.