With steady rather than spectacular results in 2011, the New World still seems to be struggling to get its head around this most polarising of aromatic grape varieties

The New World doesn’t seem to know quite what to do with Gewürztraminer. In its attempts to make wines that are fresh, aromatic and balanced, it seems to be delivering a kind of ‘Gewürz Lite’ that offends no one but doesn’t exactly set the lychee fields alight either.

‘There were no twists and turns, and nothing very much going on there,’ said Michael Moore of Michael Moore Restaurant, morosely.

The lack of actively bad wines was, I suppose, some sort of a positive, but for a category
that is still a long way from being a must-list in restaurants, producers may have to take
a few more risks to achieve any kind of success in the on-trade. It wouldn’t hurt them
to take a long, hard look at pricing either.

Given that the New World is usually very good at creating consumer-friendly knock-off versions of European wines for half the price, our tasters were surprised (and not entirely delighted) to find an unoaked category starting at close to £7 and rapidly heading north.

New Zealand provided most of the submissions and both of the medals, and each of
the Silvers had their champions demanding they get Gold. The Saint Clair gained praise
for its precision and tighter aromatics, while the richer Hunter’s was felt by others to offer greater food-matching options.

In the end, with the tasters unable to reach a consensus, both had to be happy with
Silvers. To move on from this fairly average performance, this category needs to be either cheaper or to-hell-with-the-price better.

“If I have to be French today, then I have to say that Alsace definitely has much higher quality. ” Alexandre Céret, The Greenhouse


Hunter’s Gewurztraminer 2010, Marlborough, New Zealand
£9.26 @ Laytons
Attractive aromas of flowers and spices draw you into a medium-bodied, food-friendly palate, with a touch of residual sugar. ‘There’s pear, white melon, white pepper and a medium finish,’ said Alexandre Céret. ‘Versatile wine for food,’ said Nick Chiu.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 12 Lone Gum Gewurztraminer 2009, Marlborough, New Zealand
£10.46 @ Hallgarten Druitt
Well balanced, with a bit of residual sugar, this begins with an intensely aromatic nose.
‘Fleshy and soft, this is richer, fruitier and more exotic but with decent acidity and good
length,’ said Team Leader Peter McCombie MW.

Editorial feature from Imbibe Magazine – May/June 2011

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