A Wine Lover’s Look At The White Gewurztraminer And Trebbiano Grapes

The white Traminer also called Gewurztraminer grape may have originated near Tramin in northern Italy. This grape is usually associated with the Baden region of southern Germany from where it expanded along the Rhine and Moselle rivers and then into the Alsace region of northeastern France during the late Eighteenth Century. Traminer is also found in Central Europe, in Germany mostly in the Baden and the Rheinpfalz regions, in France mostly in Alsace, in Austria, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, mostly California.

Among the many Traminer wine flavors are grapefruit, litchi, vanilla, minerals, smoke, and spices. They tend to age well. The prefix Gewurz (German for perfumed), when added to Traminer often describes a clone producing a more aromatic, more delicate juice. Cool-climate Gewurztraminer wine has a deep-colored with a perfumed, spicy, floral and yet fruity bouquet. It is full bodied with a high acid content and should be consumed young. Gewurztraminer wine from Alsace is denoted by its fruity, grapey but dry palate. In exceptional years this variety can produce outstanding late-harvest wines.

Traminer wines go well with spicy Chinese, Indian, or Mexican food, mild Sausages, Fruit and Fruit Salad. Gewurztraminer is a good Cheese wine accompanying Boursin, Chevre, and Swiss. It also goes well with Foie Gras, PateSmoked Fish, and Thai food. Late harvest Gewurztraminers should be consumed on their own.

Trebbiano has grown in Italy since Roman times. It may have slipped into southern France by the Fourteenth Century. It is Italy’s most widely planted grape and the most widely planted white grape in France, where it is called Ugni Blanc. Trebbiano is found throughout Italy in many sub-varieties. In southern France it occurs along the Provencal coast, and in the Bordeaux and Charente regions. It is also found in South Africa, in Argentina and Australia, and in the United States, especially California.

Italy has begun to produce dry, low alcohol wine from unblended Trebbiano grapes. In Italy and France these grapes may be blended with other white varieties to produce white wines. They are more often blended with red grapes to produce Chiantis. Interestingly enough this rather prosaic grape present in few, if any, famous wines is a major component of Cognac and Armagnac, including the great ones.

Trebbiano-based wines go well with Fish Stew in Aioli (Mediteranean Mayonnaise), Veal Schnitzel, Chicken, Turkey, Pork, and Shellfish. Cognac and Armagnac are high quality after-dinner drinks, and can be excellent in fine sauces, and Expresso Coffee.

Over the years I have reviewed a few Gewurztraminer and Trebbiano wines. The former came mostly from Germany and Alsace, the latter came from Italy.

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