Last Saturday night, I was able to get away from our North Willow store at a fairly reasonable hour. Before I left, I made two purchases: the Ehrhart Gewurtztraminer Rosenberg 2004 and the Ehrhart Gewurtztraminer Herrenweg 2009. While I considered going straight home and opening these bad boys for a little Gewurtztraminer mini-marathon, I decided that it would be more fun to share this wine with some friends. I'm a giver...what can I say?
I decided to head over to our flagship store on Keystone Ave. to kidnap Brennan to join me and another friend for an evening of good wine, good food and good company. For those of you who don't know, Brennan loves to share. If competitive sharing were a real sport (instead of one Kyle and I made up on observing Brennan in action), then Brennan would be its undisputed champion. He turns sharing into an art and throughout the years he has shared many great wines with me, so I decided to return the favor. After wrangling Brennan away from entering beer Purchase Orders into the system--not an easy task because of his love for beer, Purchase Orders and technology--we dropped his car off and headed to a friend's house in downtown Indianapolis to see what these Alsace wines were all about. For a good summary of Alsace wine click here
Cliff Notes on Alsace: Suffice it to say that Alsace wines are absolutely some of my favorites. Alsace features mostly aromatic whites like Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and my personal favorite: Gewurtztraminer; little red wine is grown. Alsace wines range from bone dry to unctuously sweet, rare dessert wines. Alsace vineyards are fairly dry and sunny and the best sites are able to produce wines high in acid, body, minerality, richness and wonderful, even exotic aromatics. Alsace is one of the only places on earth where you can find full-bodied whites that are up to 16% ABV and still "dry." I say "dry" because these wines are pretty rich, even if there is technically no residual sugar present.
Notes on what we tried:
Rosenberg 2004: 91 pts Tried at just a little bit below room temp. Honeyed and lush with textbook lychee and sandalwood aromas and full palate of ripe, floral scented, exotic, spicy fruits. Drinking absolutely beautifully. If the vintage scares you, be not afraid, because this wine is absolutely perfect right now and probably has about 2-3 more years left. An absolute must buy. We all agreed the Rosenberg was the superior wine.
Herrenweg 2009: 89-90: Tried initially at a fairly cool temperature and let it warm up in the glass. Less honeyed than the 2004 Rosenberg and maintained a grapey freshness on the nose along with scents of exotic white flowers. The interesting thing was how YOUNG it tasted. I would recommend cellaring the Herrenweg for another year and it will be as exciting as the Rosenberg.
Three suggestions about Gewurtztraminer that you need to remember:
- Drink Gewurtztraminer just a little bit below room temperature
- Drink Alsace and German Gewurtztraminer at about 2.5 plus yrs. of age. Gewurtz seems to need this time to 'integrate its perfumey, spicy exotic flavors into a seamless, elegant whole
- Drink Gewurtztraminer food! It's delightful with Turkey and it's a dream with Asian fare and spicy food.
Here's what Ehrhart's labels look like: