Gewurztraminer is an interesting grape; affiliated with Alsace in France or Germany, pick your war or culture, the best are full of strong fruit flavors with an undercurrent of spice and honeyed wax with a lack of acidity that makes for a difficult food pairing but a memorable drink on its own. The lesser examples tend to be a fruit flavored wine with muddled flavor and not very memorable once the bottle is finished. The 2012 Snoqualmie Gewurztraminer made with organic grapes from the Columbia Valley in Washington State slides right in between those two extremes.
Chill the bottle well, when warm it definitely lost some of its charm and seemed to get a bit flabby. Then appreciate the light yellow color, roll it around the glass and you will see glycerin legs foretelling the sensation of weight in the mouth. The nose has a touch of sweetness with mango and flower scents, along with the spice expected in a good Gewurztraminer wine. Take a sip, the flavor mimics the bouquet in this wine, a soft round tasting wine that is honeyed mango and apricot supported at the end with a nice lively spicy taste that leaves you with a desire to dip back into the glass. A lack of acidity is one thing detractors will note, but that is true to type and expected in a wine that has not received any blending grapes to ‘craft’ the wine.
The lack of a clean acidic finish and the overall essence of sweetness could make for a difficult food pairing. Look outside of the standard burger, pork, steak or chicken of the American diet and seek out “ethnic” dishes with spice and layers of subtle flavor that can play with the flavor profile in this wine, while the weight in the mouth allows you to match a variety of proteins. I believe that many traditional Mexican dishes would work well, as well as the common recommendation for Asian recipes that contain sweet and spicy elements in them. Of course you could just enjoy it well chilled on its own as we did.
Not widely available in our area it may take some looking around or even a special order from your favorite wine retailer to find the 2012 Snoqualmie Gewurztraminer. Either way expect to pay between $10 and $12 for a good if not great example of this Alsatian grape. However, given the lower priced alternatives on local shelves this wine is a definite step up and for the value buyer looking for something a little bit different from the traditional summer white wines for themselves or their guests this is a wine to consider. Just remember to keep it well chilled.