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The Real Riesling | White Wines

January 22nd, 2009

That’s a very good tutorial video to those who still think that the Riesling wines are just some sweet wines, with poor quality. Actually, Riesling is one of the most important white grapes in the world. And in the regions of Alsace (France), Pfalz, Baden and other german areas, Austria, Switzerland, and now even from the Washington and Oregon states in USA, you will be able to find a very fresh, with a very nice acidity. That’s what makes the Riesling wines one of the best in the world in terms of pairing with food. Listen to what she says in the video and have a nice Riesling wine by yourself.

Gewürztraminer | White Wines

February 27th, 2008


Brazilian Gewürztraminer | White WinesGewürztraminer (pronounced /ɡəˈvɝtstrəmiːnɚ/, sounds like guh-VOORTS-truh-MEE-ner; pronounced [ɡɛˈvyːɐtstʀamiːnɐ] in German), sometimes referred to as Gewürz, is an aromatic white wine grape variety that performs best in cooler climates. The variety has high natural sugar and the wines are usually off-dry, with a flamboyant bouquet of lychees. Dry Gewürztraminers may also have aromas of roses, passion fruit and floral notes. It is not uncommon to notice some spritz (fine bubbles on the inside of the glass).

Its aromatic flavours make Gewürztraminer one of the few wines that is suitable for drinking with Asian cuisine. It goes well with Munster cheese, and fleshy, fatty (oily) wild game. Smoked salmon is a particularly good match.

Species: Vitis vinifera
Also called: Gewürz, Gentil Rose Aromatique, Traminer Musque (more)
Origin: Along the Rhine in Alsace between the Vosges and the Blackforest
Notable regions: Alsace, Germany, NE Italy
Notable wines: From Alsace, especially the Vendange Tardives

History

The name literally means “Spice Traminer”, or “Perfumed Traminer”.

Gewürztraminer Grapes | White Wines
The history of the Traminer family is complicated, and not helped by its rather unstable genome. The story starts with the ancient Traminer variety, a green-skinned grape that takes its name from the South Tyrolean village of Tramin. The famous ampelographer Pierre Galet thought that Traminer was identical to the green-skinned Savagnin Blanc that makes vin jaune in the Jura. More recently it has been suggested that Savagnin Blanc acquired slight differences in its leaf shape and geraniol content as it travelled to the other end of the Alps.

Frankisch in Austria, Gringet in Savoie, Heida in Switzerland, Formentin in Hungary and Grumin from Bohemia are all very similar to Savagnin Blanc and probably represent clones of the Traminer family, if not Traminer itself. The Viognier of the Rhone Valley may be a more distant relative of Savagnin Blanc.

At some point, either Traminer or Savagnin Blanc mutated into a form with pink-skinned berries, called Red Traminer or Savagnin Rose. Galet believed that a musqué (’muscat’) mutation in the Red Traminer/Savagnin Rose then led to the extra-aromatic Gewürztraminer, although in Germany these names are all regarded as synonymous.

With these convoluted genetics happening in the area that has been the front line for a millennium of wars in Europe, it’s maybe not surprising that vines have been misnamed. Given that the wine made from ‘Gewürztraminer’ in Germany can be much less aromatic than that in Alsace, some of the German vines may well be misidentified Savagnin Rose. The Baden vineyard of Durbach claims its own type of Red Traminer called Durbacher Clevner (not to be confused with “Klevner”, an Austrian synonym for Pinot Blanc). The story goes that in 1780 Karl Friedrich, Grand Duke of Baden brought vines from Chiavenna in Italy, halfway between Tramin and the Jura, which was known to the Germans as Cleven.

The Klevener de Heiligenstein or Heiligensteiner Klevener found around Heiligenstein in Alsace may represent an outpost of the Durbach vines. They are often described as a less aromatic form of Gewürztraminer, which sounds just like the Red Traminer!

Traminer is recorded in Tramin from ca. 1000 until the 16th century. It was spread down the Rhine to Alsace, by way of the Palatinate where Gewürz (spice) was added to its name - presumably this was when one of the mutations happened. The longer name was first used in Alsace in 1870 - without the umlaut. It’s not clear what this name change represents, as it seems too great a coincidence that the musqué mutation happened just after the arrival of the great phylloxera epidemic. More likely an existing mutant was selected for grafting onto phylloxera-resistant rootstocks when the vineyards were replanted. In 1973 the name Traminer was discontinued in Alsace except for in the Heiligenstein area.

Crosses

The Germans have tried hard to breed the flavours of Gewürztraminer into vines that are easier to grow. In 1932 Georg Scheu crossed Gewürztraminer with Müller-Thurgau to produce Würzer, a little of which is grown in Rheinhessen and in England. Similar crosses at Alzey and Würzburg respectively have produced Septimer and the reasonably successful Perle. The early-ripening Siegerrebe is the result of a cross with Madeleine Angevine at Alzey and is notable for producing the highest ever must weight recorded in Germany, 326 °Oechsle. A cross between Müller-Thurgau and Siegerrebe produced Ortega

Cserszegi Fűszeres is the result of a Hungarian cross with Irsai Oliver.

In 1938 Harold Olmo crossed Sémillon and Gewürztraminer at U.C. Davis to make Flora, which is grown a little in California and New Zealand - in the latter it was mistaken for a late-ripening clone of Pinot Gris. Brown Bros blend it with Orange Muscat in Australia.

In 1965 Gewürztraminer was crossed with Joannes Seyve 23.416 at the University of Illinois to produce a hybrid variety called Traminette. Traminette is more cold-tolerant than the original, while maintaining most of the desirable taste and aroma characteristics.

Regions

In Europe the grape is grown in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Luxembourg, Moravia in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In the New World, the grape is perhaps most successful in New Zealand and in the far south of Chile.

Australia

Australian Gewürztraminer is more notable for its occasional use of old names like Traminer Musqué and Gentil Rose Aromatique than the quality of the wines. Its naturally high sugar is exacerbated by the sunny climate, so that it is more suited for sweetening other wines.

Canada

Canadian regions where it is grown include the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, the Niagara Peninsula, and the north shore of Lake Erie and Prince Edward County wine regions of Ontario.

France

Gewürztraminer reaches its finest expression in Alsace, where it is the second most planted grape variety and the one most characteristic of the region. It grows better in the south of the region. Styles range from the very dry Trimbach house style to the very sweet. The variety’s high natural sugar means that it is popular for making dessert wine, both vendange tardive and the noble rot-affected sélection de grains nobles.

As mentioned above, around Heiligenstein there’s a grape known as Klevener de Heiligenstein, which is probably Red Traminer (Savagnin Rose) rather than a true Gewürz; the Heiligenstein wines are certainly more restrained than other Alsace Gewürztraminers.

Germany

Germany has about 10 square kilometres of the variety, but it is very different to that of their neighbours across the Rhine, as suggested above a lot of their “Gewürztraminer” is probably Red Traminer. The Germans go for a relatively dry style, that tries to subdue the natural flamboyance of the grape.

Italy

The Traminer is native to the cool Alpine slopes of the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol in northeastern Italy. Whether the Gewürz- mutant originated there or not is an open question, but it is certainly grown there today. Confusingly both pink and green grapes may be called simply Traminer. This wine is aged in Austrian oak rather than the Slovenian oak used for most Italian wine.
Gewürztraminer | White Wines
USA

In the United States, it is concentrated in Monterey, Mendocino and Sonoma in California, the Columbia Valley of Washington and Oregon. It is also grown in Michigan, Rhode Island, Caddo County, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and the Finger Lakes Region of New York.

Traminette wines are produced in the Finger Lakes region.

Israel

Although not native to the Israeli climate, growing Gewürztraminer grapes became somewhat of a trend in the late 90’s and the beginning of 2000’s. It is grown in different growing areas all over Israel. Most notable examples come from the Golan Heights and the Gallilee. All kinds of wines, from dry aromatic ones to very concentrated sweet ones are produced.

Vine and viticulture

Gewürztraminer is particularly fussy about soil and climate. The vine is vigorous, even unruly, but it hates chalky soils and is very susceptible to disease. It buds early, so is very susceptible to frost, needs dry and warm summers, and ripens erratically and late. Its natural sweetness means that in hot climates it becomes blowsy, with not enough acidity to balance the huge amounts of sugar. On the other hand, picking early to retain the acidity, means that the varietal aromas don’t develop, and these aromas may be further diluted by overcropping in an attempt to overcome the low yields.

Synonyms

As explained above, genetic instability means that the Traminers should be regarded as a family of related clones rather than distinct varieties. Thus DNA analysis will probably reveal that the following names are not synonymous. It gets even worse when it comes to Gewürztraminer, as Geilweilerhof being Germans see no difference between it and Red Traminer - and some of the names look like they belong to the original green-skinned Traminer/Savagnin Blanc. Still, with those caveats, here they are:

Auvernas Rouge, Blanc Brun, Blanc Court, Bon Blanc, Christkindeltraube, Christkindlestraube, Clevener, Clevner, Crevena Ruziva, Crovena Ruzica, Diseci Traminer, Dreimaenner, Dreimannen, Dreipfennigholz, Drumin, Drumin Ljbora, Duret Rouge, Edeltraube, Fermentin Rouge, Fleischroth, Fleischweiner, Formentin Rouge, Fourmenteau Rouge, Frencher, Fromente, Fromenteau, Fűszeres, Fűszeres Tramini, Gentil Rose Aromatique, Gentil-duret Rouge, Gentile Blanc, Gewuerztraminer, Gringet, Gris Rouge, Haiden, Kirmizi Traminer, Klaebinger, Klaevner, Kleinbraun, Kleinwiener, Livora, Livora Cervena, Mala Dinka, Marzimmer, Mirisavi Traminac, Nature, Nature Rose, Noble Rose, Nuernberger Rot, Pinat Cervena, Piros Tramini, Plant Paien, Princ Cerveny, Princt Cervena, Princt Cerveny, Ranfoliza, Rosentraminer, Rotclevner, Rotedel, Roter Nuerberger, Roter Nuernberger, Roter Traminer, Rotfranken, Rothklauser, Rothweiner, Rothwiener, Rotklaevler, Rotklaevner, Rotklevner, Rousselet, Runziva, Rusa, Ruska, Ryvola, Salvagnin, Sauvagnin, Savagnin, Savagnin Jaune, Savagnin Rosa Aromatique, Savagnin Rose, Savagnin Rose Aromatique, Savagnin Rose Musque, St. Klauser, Termeno Aromatico, Tramin Cerveny, Tramin Korenny, Traminac Crveni, Traminac Diseci, Traminac mirisavi (Croatian), Traminac Mirisavi Crveni, Traminac Sivi, Traminec, Traminer, Traminer Aromatico, Traminer Epice, Traminer Musque, Traminer Parfume, Traminer Rosa, Traminer Rose Aromatique, Traminer Rot, Traminer Rozovyi, Tramini Piros, Trammener,Fűszeres tramini (Hungarian).

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gew%C3%BCrztraminer

Grüner Veltliner | White Wines

February 26th, 2008


Grüner Veltliner is a variety of white wine grape widely grown primarily in Austria and widely also in the Czech Republic, but almost nowhere else. It has a reputation of being a particularly food-friendly wine.

Loimer Gruner Veltliner | White WinesIt is made into wines of many different styles - much is intended for drinking young in the heurigen bars of Vienna, a little is made into sparkling wine, but some is capable of long ageing. The best has proven to be world-class in blind tastings against chardonnays.

The steep, Rhine-like vineyards of the Danube west of Vienna produce very pure, minerally Grüner Veltliners intended for laying down. Down in the plains, citrus and peach flavours are more apparent, with spicy notes of pepper and sometimes tobacco.

Species: Vitis vinifera
Also called: Grüner Muskateller (more)
Origin: Austria?
Notable regions: Lower Austria, Burgenland, Moravia, Czech Republic
Notable wines: Smaragds from Wachau

History

It is said that Grüner Veltliner dates back to Roman times but the name only appeared in the mid 19th century - before that time it was known as Grüner Muskateller. Until the Second World War it was regarded as just another Austrian grape, it took Lenz Moser’s Hochkultur system of vine training to really get the best out of it. Since the antifreeze scandal of 1985, Grüner Veltliner has been at the forefront of the switch in Austrian winemaking towards better quality, dry, wines.

Traminer is one parent of Grüner Veltliner according to recent DNA analysis. The other parent is unknown at present, but there appears to be no relationship to any of the other Veltliner varieties.

Distribution and Wines

Austria

Grüner Veltliner accounts for 36.0% of all vineyards in Austria, almost all of it being grown in the northeast of the country. Along the Danube to the west of Vienna, in Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal, it grows with Riesling in terraces reminiscent of the Rhine, on slopes so steep they can barely retain any soil. The result is a very pure, minerally wine capable of long ageing, that stands comparison with some of the great wines of the world. In recent blind tastings organised by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, Grüner Veltliners have beaten world-class Chardonnays from the likes of Mondavi and Louis Latour.

In the deeper clay soils in the Weinviertel to the northeast of Vienna Grüner Veltliner develops more of a spicy, peppery character, which can be aged although a lot of production is intended to be drunk young in the heurigen bars of Vienna. Some is made into sparkling wine in the far northeast around Poysdorf.

A little is grown south of Vienna, in the warmer climates of the vineyards towards the Hungarian plains, although the growers there are more interested in red and dessert wines.

Two of the first three DACs (geographical appellations) in Austria apply to Grüner Veltliner, the Weinviertel DAC and the Traisental DAC.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic, particularly Southern Moravia close to the Austrian border, produces some Grüner Veltliners of notable quality. Grüner Veltliner wines form approximately 11% of Czech wine production. This makes Grüner Veltliner the second most widely grown white grape variety in the Czech Republic.

Hungary

A little is grown in Austria’s former imperial partner.

Grüner Veltliner | White WinesVine and Viticulture

The leaves are five-lobed and the bunches are long but compact, with deep green grapes that ripen in mid-late October.

Synonyms

Grüner Muskateller (in common usage until the 1930s), Green Veltliner, Greener Veltliner, GrüVe, Manhardsrebe, Weißgipfler, Weissgipfler.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gr%C3%BCner_Veltliner

Breidecker | White Wines

February 26th, 2008


Breidecker | White WinesBreidecker is a German style light white wine with apple and pear flavors.

“This cultivar was released by the Geisenheim Research Station, Germany, in 1962. Has the technical name GM 4894. It was derived from a Müller-Thurgau cross with the Chancellor (a.k.a Seibel 7053) hybrid cultivar and can currently be found in limited areas on the south island of New Zealand where it is mainly used for producing somewhat neutral varietal and blend white wines. Resistant to Bunch Rot and Downy Mildew fungus diseases. [Breidecker] was named after Heinrich Breidecker, one of NZ’s pioneer grape growers.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breidecker

Australian White Wines

February 22nd, 2008


Australian White WinesAustralian white wines are quite varied in nature. No matter what type of white wine one prefers, dry or sweet, they are sure to find the perfect Australian white wine to match their tastes. There are quite a few different white wine varieties being produced in Australian vineyards and some of these will be discussed in detail. The following will describe not only their inherent qualities but the foods one may wish to pair with them as well.

Riesling

One of the more popular types of Australian white wines is Riesling. Riesling is usually a sweet, fruity wine which tastes wonderful chilled. With Australian Rieslings, these types of wine are often drier in nature with much less sweetness than their German Riesling counterparts. The Australian Riesling, although not as sweet, still maintains a highly fruit-filled taste and aroma. Rieslings pair nicely with a wide array of foods such as poultry, fish and certain shellfish entrees. One may also wish to have a glass of Riesling with certain desserts as well.

Chardonnay

Another popular Australian white wine is Chardonnay. Although relatively new to Australia, numerous vineyards in wine regions throughout the country have started planting these types of grapes. The Chardonnay varieties produced in Australia differ amongst wines from various vineyards. Some vineyards produce Chardonnays which are smooth whereas others are of a more crisp variety. This provides options for individuals who like a certain type of Chardonnay.

Chardonnay is a popular type of wine not only due to its delicious taste but also because it pairs nicely with a number of entrée selections. One can serve a bottle of Chardonnay when serving salads, pork, fish, shellfish or pastas such as ravioli, for example. Chardonnay is a type of wine which pairs wonderfully with various types of food which makes it a nice item to have on hand when preparing a dinner.

Semillon

Australia also produces a good quantity of Semillon white wine. This type of white wine can be bottled alone or in combination with Chardonnay. Semillon is quite a dry wine that is full bodied with good acidity attributes. This wine is best produced in warmer, more humid areas of the country and the result is a delicious, dry wine that goes well with a number of foods including salads and certain fish entrees.

Pinot Grigio

One will also find that Pinot Grigio is being produced more and more in Australian wineries. Typically produced in Italy and France, Pinot Grigio is becoming more common in Australian wine regions as well. This wine is best produced in areas that are cooler in climate and the result is a crisp, dry wine that works nicely alongside ham, fish, shellfish and pasta dishes.

Source: http://www.mamashealth.com/wine/austwhite.asp

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