Riesling, you’ve been a brilliant companion, but we’re breaking up for Thanksgiving (don’t worry, we’ll meet again). This year, Gewurztraminer (pronounced Ga-VERTZ-trah-mee-nur) is my turkey day date, the kind of white wine I can bring home to the family, but still have a wild time with.
Gewurztraminer is sexy and exotic, smelling of lychee, rose, tropical fruit and warm, fall spices like nutmeg and clove (I wish a perfumer would bottle this aroma so I could dab my neck and knees with it before a date). But she’s more than just a pretty nose: Her palate is often rich, her texture sensual, with layers of flavor that evolve in the glass through the night. Her tendency towards high alcohol adds body like Kim Kardashian, but with complexity. Even drinkers who prefer reds in their glass can’t ignore the charms of Gewurz.
Every Gewurztraminer has her own style. She can be dry, off-dry or lusciously sweet. For the best all-around performance with the dishes of Thanksgiving, opt for drier wines or slightly off-dry with enough acidity to give lift and keep it refreshing. Paired with turkey and sage stuffing, sweet potatoes and even pumpkin pie, Gewurztraminer will prove a surprising partner.
So here are five ideas for what to pour at your Thanksgiving table (and these bottles double as ideal hostess gifts).
Gewurz excels in Alsace, France, near the borders of Switzerland and Germany:
Hugel & Fils 2010, $22 – Quite dry yet juicy with delicious, classic aromatics of rose and lychee, a hint of pear and a baking spice finish.
Trimbach 2009, $22 – On the dry side with lychee, candied citrus and pronounced floral aromatics, threaded with ginger and nutmeg.
Domaine Bechtold Silberberg 2010, $22 – Elegant, off-dry style with brightening acidity, exotic fruits, spice and dried rose petal potpourri.
If you’re feeling patriotic — it’s Thanksgiving! — then try one from New York State:
Peconic Bay Winery 2011, Long Island, $22 – Dry style with refreshing acidity offering floral notes, lychee, clove and a thread of lemon.
Hermann J. Wiemer 2010, Finger Lakes, $23.00 – Dry and vivid with lively acidity, the delicately spiced palate shows notes of melon and peach swaddled in flowers.
Where to Buy:
Bottlerocket, 5 West 19th Street, 212-929-2323
Chelsea Wine Vault, 75 9th Avenue, (212) 462-4244
Sherry-Lehman, 505 Park Avenue, 212-838-7500.
Lauren Mowery is a wine and travel writer based in NYC. She blogs at Chasing the Vine.