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April 14, 2010

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I love Gewurz. Sort of like Viognier and Torrontes, it's a white wine that gets little-to-no love due to its lack of brand equity (for lack of a better description). Furthermore, I sense that wine growing regions like the Finger Lakes, Michigan, etc. struggle a bit with public perception because everyone expects wine growing regions to make Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cab. If they don't (or don't do it well), then those regions are written off. As an advocate for lesser-know grapes and lesser-known regions, swaying the public wine-drinking opinion is very tough. Yet, when folks taste a Gewurz, etc., they're often wowed.

Give someone some Pacific Rim or Indian cuisine. Pair with some Gewurztraminer (maybe with a little RS if the food is spicy). Get them to remember how well they went together, and maybe- just maybe- progress is made.

Evan: I've never actually heard anyone, first-hand, brush off gewurz because they couldn't pronounce it or remember it, but I've heard of it happening often enough that there must be at least some truth to it.

Are you at all surprised that wineries haven't come up with a "new" name for this grape, to help target consumers put off by the name?

Look at Blaufrankisch. It's the proper name for the grape, but many in the U.S. use Lemberger instead (which I'd argue is FAR worse, but that's not the point here).

Lenn -

I view Mark Wiltberger's point a bit differently. I think he's saying that, for the casual drinker, they might try it and enjoy it at a tasting, but later they can't remember the name so they don't ask for it. That makes sense, I suppose. It's not a grape you hear very often, and it's easier to ask for Chardonnay or even Riesling.

Joe -

Very good points.

Evan: Maybe you're right, but it still seems a bit inconsistent to use Lemberger but also Gewurztraminer.

As you know, this is a bet peeve of mine, so I'll just let it go.

Really looking forward to tonight's tasting -- we've lined up four of the regions best for sure. Who else do you think is making gewurztraminer of note?

My favorite faux pronunciation of Gewurztraminer is "Gee What's Her Name-er". Interesting piece. I think Gewurz will always be polarizing, simply because its character is naturally bold.

I have been a Gewurz lover for years now, but I don't typically like wines with too much "floral character". I am attracted to the Gewurztraminers with light citrus and strong spice. I really think it is the spiciness that sets them apart from most other whites. Am I crazy? What exactly is the spice I am tasting by the way?

Scott - I tend to associate the spice sort of vaguely with exotic spices, indian spices, and some of the stronger spices on our traditional rack. It can vary with the wine, of course. But you're not alone in feeling somewhat repelled by the strong floral character. Gewurz can walk a knife's edge that way.

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