One of the best white wine values in our market is the 2005 Helfrich Gewurztraminer Grand Cru.
In spring, Frederick Helfrich of the Alsace, France, family wine company visited our market for a tasting of the range of his riesling, gewurztraminer and pinot gris wines. Made from grapes supplied by 61 contracted growers in the region, Helfrich wines offer consumers exceptional value.
The regular bottlings of the riesling, gewurztraminer, and pinot gris have attractive fruit and floral aromas, substantial fruit flavors and good acidity. They are well-made wines at very affordable prices. But what truly stood out were the two grand cru bottlings of riesling and gewurztraminer. The former is filled with peach and mineral character, and has excellent texture and very good acidity in the finish. It is worth searching for.
As good as the other wines were, my palate was won by the 2005 Helfrich Gewurztraminer Grand Cru. Composed of grapes from the Steinklotz vineyard (as is the riesling grand cru), the gewurztraminer has an elegant aroma and flavor of tropical fruits. Medium-bodied and with excellent balance, the 2005 gewurztraminer grand cru has complexity without overwhelming the palate, something that gewurztraminer can do.
Gewurztraminer is not a wine that everyone appreciates. The grape can yield aromas and flavors ranging from pungent cheese, cloves, tropical fruit, litchi nuts, honey, and apricots — not so much in the glass as exploding out of it. This is not a wine for the faint of palate. Helfrich does a masterful job balancing its 2005 gewurztraminer Grand Cru.
I enjoyed my glass of the wine with foie gras, and then with roasted chicken. But it is rich enough to enjoy with an apple tart or a summer dessert like panna cotta, a rhubarb pie, or fresh berries with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The 2005 Helfrich Gewurztraminer Grand Cru retails for approximately $19; the riesling grand cru is the same price and the regular bottlings are about $15.