I’ve never had a Gewürztraminer before, so I was keen to see what this was like. It’s from Stonecroft in Hawkes Bay on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. A note by the bottles when we bought it said that it was good with fatty fish. So we booked a table at Garfish tonight and had a nice relaxing Friday evening dinner. M. and I both chose the grilled salmon with chips, after a starter of buttery garlic bread. So lots of oily food!
From the first sniff I could tell this was a very different type of wine to anything I’d had before. It was citrusy, with strong lemon-lime notes. There was also something else very distinctive present, but it took me halfway through dinner to start identifying the other components. After the first glass I finally nailed part of it down as floral aroma, something like a cross between jasmine and rose. And there was also a hint of musk as well… sweet and a tiny bit cloying. A very interesting mix of smells.
In the mouth, the initial burst was a slightly sweet lemon-lime flavour, matching the aroma. There was some fermentation prickle. After sitting in the mouth a bit the flavour mellowed out into something very mild and almost creamy, with those hints of floral aroma. Like Turkish delight, now I come to think of it – yes, that was definitely it. It wasn’t anywhere near that sweet – it was just a touch of sweetness that made it very different from a dry, tart wine like a sauvignon blanc. And then the most astonishing thing happened. The creamy texture starting developing a distinct spiciness – cloves perhaps, and then peppery flavours. Subtle at first, but on swallowing there was a mild peppery sensation all the way down the throat.
It was really complex, with lots going on, and very interesting and enjoyable. I feared M. might not like it, but she really got into it, and said it was great. It complemented the fish and chips beautifully.
Even liking it so much, there’s no way the two of us can finish off an entire bottle of wine over dinner. I have no idea what other people do in this situation. (Tell me!) We take our vacuum sealing pump to the restaurant (it fits into the wine chiller bag with a bottle) and seal it up once we know we’re not pouring any more, then take the remainder home again. It’s a little conspicuous pumping air out of a wine bottle at the table, but nobody’s ever looked twice at us doing it, yet.
Anyway, this wine was a fantastic experience. I’ve just now looked up some more information on Gewürztraminer, and see that it’s known for a bouquet of lychees – which, now that I think about it, matches very well to the lemon-lime thing I was trying to put a better name to. Lychee – I must remember that. Furthermore, Stonecroft’s tasting notes on its 2009 Gewürztraminer says that it has notes of – wait for it – jasmine and rose petals! I’m now feeling very pleased with myself and my slowly developing wine tasting skills.