Home > Gewurztraminer, wine quiz > Weekly Wine Quiz #70: Grape Trivia – Gewurztraminer

Weekly Wine Quiz #70: Grape Trivia – Gewurztraminer

Gewurztraminer grapes, as shown in Wkikipedia

Gewurztraminer grapes, as shown in Wikipedia

Welcome to the weekend and your new wine quiz!

We are continuing our grape trivia series, still focusing on the white grapes, and today’s subject is Gewurztraminer.

Gewurztraminer, which often spelled with umlaut, Gewürztraminer, is a very interesting white grape for variety of reasons. Even starting with the appearance – take a look at the picture – does it look white to you? Nevertheless, similar to Pinot Gris, it is considered to be the white grape, as its skin color ranges from pinkish to the reddish. Gewurztraminer has about 1000 years of history, and it is growing pretty much all over the world in literally each and every wine producing country – yet it is very seldom that any of the oenophiles would rave about their Gewurztraminer experiences.

It is difficult to grow, as it tends to have high sugar content and low acidity, which doesn’t bode well for the well balanced wines – and for that reason, it also performs better in the cooler climates. Its characteristic trait is extreme aromatics – on the nose, Gewurztraminer wine usually exhumes with aromas of white flowers, lychees, peaches and tropical fruits. Gewurztraminer wines can be made in the range of styles, from very dry to the full power dessert wine.  For the well made Gewurztraminer wines, the combination of extreme aromatics and balanced body, whether dry or sweet, creates very memorable experience – yes, this would hold true from absolute majority of the wines, of course – but I would say that Gewurztraminer wines very seldom have middle ground in their showing – they are either great, or they are really bad, with the very few which you will place into “well, it’s okay” category.

Most of the best in the world Gewurztraminers come from Alsace in France, but you can also find very good wines in Germany, Austria, Italy, California and probably some other places (in a lot of cases the wines will be made only for the local consumption and you would never hear about them). One more curious fact I want to point to before we get to the quiz is that Gewurztraminer is probably one of the most promiscuous grapes, having been used more often than most of other grapes in creation of different crosses – Flora, Traminette, Ortega, Irsai Oliver and many others are not clones, but actual purposeful crosses of Gewurztraminer with the other grapes.

Now, to the quiz!

Q1: Where Gewurztraminer was supposedly originated? Name the grape which was a precursor of Gewurztraminer

Q2: Explain the meaning of the name Gewurztraminer

Q3: Unlike many other grapes, if the French wine is made out of Gewurztraminer, you can easily know that just by looking at the bottle. Why is that?

Q4: Which area in California produces best Gewurztraminer wines:

a. Monterey County

b. Alexander Valley

c. Russian River Valley

d. Anderson Valley

Q5: Wine Spectator calls wines rated in 95-100 range Classic (the highest and the most prestigious category). True or False: there are no Gewurztraminer wines with Classic rating

Good luck, enjoy the quiz and your weekend! Cheers!

  1. August 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Ooooh! I adore Gewürztraminer!!

    1. In the Italian Alps, Alto Adige. Traminer.
    2. The name translates to spicy or perfumed Traminer.
    3. The Alsace bottle is an elongated bottle, or Hoch bottle. It’s easy to recognize.
    4. Tough one — I’ve had delicious Gewürz from all those regions. I’ll go with Anderson Valley.
    5. False


    • talkavino
      August 18, 2013 at 12:42 am

      Very good work! The answers are coming on Wednesday.

  2. August 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    1. Alto Adige. Savignin Rose
    2. ‘Spicy grapes’ alluding to its spicy, aromatic character
    3. Gewurztraminer is made in Alsace where they use the German long-neck bottle
    4. ‘Best’ is subjective, but according to both Oz Clark and Wine Spectator, Anderson Valley is a conditional best.
    5. False, the list of classic rated Gewurztraminer is very long!

    Sorry I didn’t use the umlauts. I don’t know the code for that.

    • talkavino
      August 18, 2013 at 12:44 am

      Thanks for playing, great answers! I’m not sure we really need umlauts – at least they are not using them in French name, so I don’t feel bad : )

      • August 19, 2013 at 4:40 pm

        The French don’t use them, but the Germans do. ALT 129 on a PC or Option “u” and then another “u” on a Mac.

  3. August 17, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Well, it’s confirmed then. I love a good Gewürztraminer (partly because it’s so fun to say!); but I’ve had my share of awful ones and wondered what was wrong with my taster–I mean, how could one taste so right and the next one so wrong?

    I always feel, when I’m the second or third one to respond to a quiz, like I’ve peeked at the answers so I’m disqualified. Even if my answers were almost all the same as the other persons (except I would have guessed Alexander Valley for Q4, for no good reason other than some convoluted association of mine between my friend Alexander and Gewürtztraminer (he’s the one who introduced me to the wine, many long years ago…)

    • talkavino
      August 18, 2013 at 12:49 am

      Well, I don’t know if this will help, but when I answer questions in the quiz, I purposefully avoid scrolling through the other comments – I just open the comment box and focus on filling it in. Once I’m done and click “reply”, this is when I will look at other answers just out of curiosity.
      In any case, I can tell you that there were a lot of good answers here, but there is still a bit of room for improvement.

  4. August 17, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    1. Gewürztraminer originated in Italy (around the city Tramin). Not sure what the precursor was but maybe it’s Savagnin blanc?
    2. Gewürz is German for spice. The name Gewürztraminer therefore means spicy Traminer.
    3. The bottle shape is quite unique – similar to the German Riesling bottles that are used in the Mosel area.
    4. I don’t know. I never had a Californian Gewürztraminer but I heard that the Gewürztraminer from the Anderson Valley are very good.
    5. Probably false.

    • talkavino
      August 18, 2013 at 12:49 am

      Thanks for playing, Julian, very good work. The answers are coming on Wednesday.

  5. August 19, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Even though it is quite a distinctive grape variety with lovely perfume, I am not a fan of it. 😉 I know I won’t wine the quizz so I will wait till Wed. I didn’t know Gewurtraminer originated in Italy. Cheers.

  1. August 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm
  2. August 31, 2013 at 8:38 am
  3. November 30, 2013 at 9:04 am
  4. June 28, 2014 at 9:20 am

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