As I continue to study for my certified exam through The Court of Master Sommeliers I’ve decided to challenge myself to buy and taste new and unfamiliar wines from each region as I am studying. If anything to make it more fun when studying regions new to me.
Today I reviewed Alsace. A region, quite honestly, I just haven’t been too into. I don’t really know why. I guess there are so many other regions in France that intrigue me more (eh hem Champagne, Burgundy, Southern Rhone), so I guess I sadly ignore Alsace much of the time. But not today.
As I read about the wines of Alsace I became intrigued at the descriptions of Gewurztraminers. I’ve had many Gewurz’s before, but honestly most of them have been domestic (CA, WA, OR primarily) and I’m just not that into them. Yes they have their time and place, but I will typically refrain from ordering a Gewurztraminer in a restaurant. So today I specifically went out to get me some Alsatian Gewurztraminer.
I stopped by my local Fred Meyer (they have a great wine steward at this particular location and a wide variety of French wines so I crossed my fingers that they would have some of the wines I just read about). Besides, I needed some groceries so why not try to kill two birds with one stone.
After carefully studying the Alsatian wines on the shelf for about 15 minutes the wine steward finally approached me, likely thinking “poor girl she has no clue and is just wandering aimlessly”. But I told her my goal, that I was studying Alsace today and wanted a good Gewurz. We both got excited when I eyeballed the Helfrich 2001 Grand Cru Gewurztraminer Steinklotz that they had on sale for $20 and we both agreed I couldn’t pass up the chance to taste a Grand Cru as I was learning about Alsace, and a 2001 with a few years on it. I also had my hand on a few bottles from Trimbach, another that I read a lot about. What the heck I thought, I’ll get them all. Best way to learn right?
It was the Gewurztraminer that I was most interested in, so popped it in the fridge the moment I got home to give it a slight chill.
After opening and taking my first sip I was very intrigued. I didn't think I would be so impressed with it. I also figured it would be more spicy, since Gewurztraminers are supposed to be spicy right? But perhaps because of its age much of the spice had mellowed into a round, full-bodied wine full of floral and honey flavors. My first whiff was strong with flowers (I was imagining being surrounded by roses) and honey. It was elegant and perfumed.
The body was full yet soft and refreshing with more honey throughout with good minerality and finished with hints of the spice that was probably much more apparent a few years ago.
This wine doesn’t need food either, although I am sure it would accompany many dishes quite well but I was happy to sip alone, and savor.
I’m now looking forward to the Trimbach (Riesling, notes to come eventually), and perhaps many others to come.