Your neighborhood has just been issued quarantine measures because of covid-19. With all the chaos you find a silver lining — the elimination of your work commute and a week of easy delivery food. Then you remember you forgot to stock up on wine. After checking your wine rack, you discover a bottle of Gewürztraminer that your wino friend brought to a get-together ages ago. Is it still ok to drink? How long does Gewürztraminer last?
An open bottle of Gewürztraminer that is recorked and kept cold can last three to five days. Because it has relatively low acidity and high alcohol It is best enjoyed young – within five years of the vintage date. This will ensure peak acidity, flavor profile, and intended balance of Gewürztraminer.
With so many wine “rules” out there it can be hard to know what needs to age, what should be drunk young, and how long it will last after you open it. Gewürztraminer is a highly aromatic wine with a lot of perfume and flowery aromas that you don’t want to miss out on.
Below we will get you acquainted with Gewürztraminer and some best practices to follow.
What is Gewürztraminer?
Gewürztraminer is a white wine that has robust aromas of perfumed floral and rich fruit aromas. This wine packs a unique punch.
Unlike other full-bodied wines, Gewürztraminer’s aromatic character comes from its grapes rather than the winemaking process. This gives it an intensely original profile.
Author Note: Gewürz means “spice” in German, describing the dried fruit and baking spices characteristics of the wine. It is different than referring to the spice in a Shiraz which usually refers to spicy black pepper notes.
Many people think this is a sweet wine, but it is produced in styles that range from completely dry to intensely sweet.
Differing from many other white wines, Gewürztraminer is produced from pink grapes. However, do not confuse this with the red to black grapes used to make red wine.
Gewürztraminer is usually yellow or caramel colored that has bold tropical fruit and sweet spice aromas. It often exhibits exotic fruit like lychee, mango, apricot, or pineapple. It may present spicy notes like ginger, caramel, cinnamon, or allspice.
With higher alcohol content, Gewürztraminer has a rich silky or oily texture. ABV sometimes reaches about 14 percent. High alcohol means it will send tears streaming down the sides of your glass.
You may find elements of honey from noble rot.
Gewürztraminer is an Aromatic Wine
Gewürztraminer is considered an aromatic wine. This style of wine will have very strong perfumed characteristics that are derived from the grape.
White wines are often classified as light-bodied, full-bodied, and aromatic. This refers to the wine’s most notable characteristics and intensity on the palate. Aromatic wines are categorized by the actual grape profile. Unlike rieslings, like the Moselland Cat Riesling, Gewürztraminers do not smell like petrol.
Many styles of wine fall into their category due to the characteristics they pick up during the winemaking process.
Think about a full-bodied Chardonnay, which is not aromatic. When you notice a buttery or toasty vanilla aroma, you are smelling compounds added during the winemaking process like malolactic fermentation and aging in oak barrels. These are not aromatics from the grape itself.
Reisling, Albarino, Moscato, and Torrontes are examples of other aromatic white wines.
Aromatic wines are unique because they have a higher concentration of terpenes. This is a compound class also found in flowers.
Where is Gewürztraminer From?
Gewürztraminer gets its name from a German-speaking region in Northern Italy. Today is most notably produced in Alsace, France. This region produces the highest quality Gewürztraminer and the greatest amount compared to other wine regions.
Gewürztraminer from Germany tends to be a sweeter style than those from France.
The Gewürztraminer grape grows best in cool climates. It grows well in the hills surrounding the alps for example. Italy, Austria, New Zealand, and the United States also produce Gewürztraminer.
Warmer climate wine regions will likely offer Gewürztraminer with less complexity because the grapes do not have sufficient time to ripen.
Compared to other well-known wines Gewürztraminer is fairly rare. There are less than 40,000 vineyards growing Gewürztraminer worldwide.
How is Gewürztraminer Made?
Gewürztraminer portrays elements of the terroir it is grown in. It picks up elements from the soil and brings dynamic aromas to your glass.
Author Note: Because Gewürztraminer is low in acidity great care to harvest that the right time must be taken. Winemakers strive to preserve as much acid in the wine as to strike a balance with the wine’s heavy aromatics and high alcohol.
After harvest grapes are harvested, they are destemmed and put into a press. Here the pink skin and seeds are separated from the juice.
Fermentation in stainless steel tanks to preserve Gewürztraminer’s perfumed characteristics takes place. This process is often stopped before all the sugar has been processed out.
The wine is allowed to settle at cooler temperatures for a short time period and the clarified. The last step is to bottle and distribute. Gewürztraminer will lose too much acidity with aging so there is not a step for this in the winemaking process.
How Should You Store Gewürztraminer?
Contrary to what you may think, it is best to store unopened white wine in a cool dark location. Store it on its side so that the cork retains a bit of moisture and remains airtight.
Do not keep your prized Gewürztraminer in the refrigerator for extended periods of time before opening it.
It will be exposed to light and temperature changes when you open and close the door. This can alter the wine’s delicate characteristics.
Try to avoid letting your wine undergo drastic temperature changes. Wine is sensitive and will change its flavor if it sees a huge swing in temperature.
Aromatic wines with high alcohol, like Gewürztraminer, are more prone to disruption if stored poorly. Temperature fluctuation and contact with warm temperature will make them lose their desirable traits.
Aim to chill your white wine no more than 48 hours before you plan to drink it.
How Long Will Gewürztraminer Last Unopened?
Wines with high tannin or acid will withstand the test of time better than their counterparts and may even improve with age. This style of wine does best if you store the wine for some time or speed up the process with decanting or another form of oxidation.
This is not the case for Gewürztraminer. Its delicate aromas will fade away and it can become flabby because it does not have a lot of natural acidity.
Gewürztraminer will show it best if it is drunk young. Enjoy it within the first few years after the vintage date.
It will rarely last over five years. It has low acid that will deteriorate over time and make the sugar and high alcohol seem cloying.
lt is ideal to Drink Gewürztraminer within a year of the vintage date. There are a few exceptions of specialized Gewürztraminer styles that can age for three to ten years.
Because Gewürztraminer is so fragrant it is best served chilled around 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Serving it cold will allow it to show all of its best aromas and flavors. Never decant or aerate it as it will lose its desirable characteristics.
If you are looking to serve Gewürztraminer with a plate of cheese, try something dry, salty, or pungent. Munster, blue cheese, or aged gouda will pair nicely.
Dry or off-dry styles of Gewürztraminer are a fantastic companion to Moroccan dishes. The use of baking spices and dried fruit compliments the flavor profile of the wine.
Gewürztraminer can be a hit for holiday meals. They are often full of baking spices and cooked fruits.
Spicy cuisine like Chinese, Thai, or Indian is often ideal food pairings. Look for dishes that have a lot of flavors to create balance with the wine.
Sweet styles of Gewürztraminer are often enjoyed as a dessert wine. Serve it on its own after dinner to relax with a final delightful indulgence. It can be a wonderful complement to apple crumble or something with ginger in the recipe.
How Long Will an Open Bottle of Gewürztraminer Last?
When you open a bottle of wine it is exposed to oxygen and begins to release its aromas and flavors. If you want to save a bottle of wine you need to reduce its exposure to air by recorking or other methods.
Author Note: However, Science has proven that the number one way to preserve an open bottle of wine is to keep it cold. Combine this with resealing or recorking the wine and you will be able to preserve a wine’s character longer.
Gewürztraminer is highly aromatic which allows it to retain aromas longer. If it is recorked and kept cold it can last three to five days.
You know a bottle of wine has passed its prime if you pick up the smell or taste of vinegar.
When you find yourself scratching your head with a bottle of Gewürztraminer, remember to enjoy it as soon as possible. Because it does not have a lot of natural acidity it will become flabby with age.
Always store it on its side in a cool dry place and chill it no more than 48 hours before drinking. Avoid temperature fluctuations at all costs.
If your bottle is opened, keep it consistently cold and recork it immediately. Gewürztraminer will maintain its desirable profile for three to five days.
Remember that Gewürztraminer is a somewhat rare and affordable wine that should be enjoyed. It has a memorable profile that is a fantastic way to shake up your normal wine drinking habits.
Do not overthink it and drink up!
To living a full-bodied life,