Wine review: Chateau Ste. Michelle 2008 Gewürztraminer

chateau ste michelle gewurztraminerMan oh man, this grape throws people like the mechanical bull in Urban Cowboy. Even if you drink it often, gewürztraminer is practically unpronounceable when buzzed… wine industry people screw it up frequently. The correct way (and please feel free to pass this around): geh-VERTS-trah-mee-ner. Funky name aside, it’s deliciously aromatic and rich. The best examples in the world come from the Alsace region of France (more about Alsace), where German varietals reign but Washington State has been successful in ripening it to perfection. Gewürz needs a cool climate that offers a long growing season, to develop its characteristic floral spiciness and, like riesling, this grape comes in a variety of styles, from dry to sweet. It pairs well with Chinese, Thai and any other cuisine with some bite to it… like this recipe for Barbecue Rubbed Pork Chops or pepper-crusted anything.

My favorite producers of Alsacian gewürztraminer are Zind Humbrecht, Hugel et Fils and Helfrich. But Ste. Michelle, as usual, does a fine job, especially for the price. Slightly on the sweet side, it shouts pear, lychee fruit, sweet vanilla and cloves. But with all that action, it manages to finish dry and almost spicy with white pepper and citrus. Fantastic choice for those who like some sugar in the mix.

Sweetness: 3 out of 10
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Price: $10- $13
Occasion: This was a sample from the winery, tasted with Chinese takeout. Da bomb.
Availability: Should be at grocery stores throughout the nation.

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