Browse Tag


Optima illusion

[grapes]Nobilo “Vinoptima” 2003 Gewurztraminer “Reserve” (Ormond) – “Welcome to Vinoptima, the world’s best Gewurztraminer,” says the web site. Uh-huh. It’s certainly priced as if it is. It’s served blind, and the reaction from my dining companions, including at least one certified gewürztraminer fetishist, is…indifference. There are fields of roses, honey-covered (but raw, not roasted) almonds and hazelnuts, but these fields are choked with rank weeds. Vegetal and green throughout. The finish is blessedly short. This wine is grossly overpriced, and not even good. The Nobilo family should be embarrassed…by both the wine and the hubris. (4/08)

Back in Black

[winery]Black Ridge 2003 Gewürztraminer “Late Harvest” (Central Otago) – Sweaty feet, spiced lychee, and some fetid notes on the finish. Everyone but me hates it. I don’t think it’s good, but it’s at least interesting. (It’s worth noting that the “foot” element was something I noticed at the winery, as well.) (3/05)


Mallo 2005 Gewurztraminer “Cuvée Saint-Jacques” (Alsace) – A surprisingly solid effort from this often-underperforming producer, with spicy intensity supported by a strewn handful of rocks; the zing helps support a structure which clings just enough to the exterior of this wine. Nicely-turned. (6/08)

It’s full of stars

Mittnacht Frères 2006 Gewurztraminer “Terre d’etoiles…” (Alsace) – Pretty classic, with most of the sugar absorbed (though it’s there) into a nutty, stone fruit liquid without too many blobby edges. A bit of minerality infuses the expected spice, and there’s actually some acidity as well. Simple, but quite tasty. (5/08)

Slander & Laible

[vineyard]Laible 2006 Durbacher Plauelrain Traminer Spätlese Trocken 09 07 (Baden) – Solid cool-climate gewürztraminer flavors of rose petals and an exotically leafy lychee rind, with good acidity and a rod-like pillar of translucent minerality around which the rest of the wine is draped. It’s not spectacular, but it’s eminently drinkable, and age might reveal a little more character. (5/08)

Knights need huggs too

[vineyard]Marcel Hugg 2005 Gewurztraminer “Réserve des Chevaliers” (Alsace) – Solid, varietally correct gewürztraminer with a little added flash of crystalline lightboxing. Good, especially if viewed uncritically. (4/08)

Patutahi your shoelaces

[bottle]Brancott 2005 Gewürztraminer Patutahi (Gisborne) – Vibrant fruit, flowers, spice, peach, and nuts, with a dry finish. It’s a little lighter than I’d like; gewürz of this intensity should have a little more heft. (2/08)

Brightwater scandal

Kaimira Estate 2004 Gewürztraminer (Brightwater) – Fun. Lychee, nut oil, peach and pear, and dried rose petal – pretty classic – though the nose is a bit hot. Honeysuckle on the finish is aided by six grams of residual sugar. Despite the hint of heat, it’s a fairly elegant and lighter-styled version, and while it’s nice now, I wouldn’t hold it very long. (3/05)