One of most interesting wines I’ve tasted lately is the 2007 Knipser Gewurztraminer-Riesling blend.
Gewurztraminer is grown throughout the world and reaches its pinnacle in France’s Alsace region; but it does well in cool climates, such as northern Italy, Austria and Germany.
Gewurztraminer is neither an easy grape to like nor to grow. Its explosive aromas can include any combination of lychee, ginger, jasmine, citrus, flowers or even cheese. And the flavors are no less tame, with intense fruit enveloping the mouth thanks to the grape’s low acidity. Gewurztraminer’s high sugar content lends itself to concentrated dessert wine, too.
Riesling is the flip side of Gewurztraminer. One of the wine world’s most noble grapes, it is the source of Germany’s greatest white wines. Its natural high acidity balances the fruitiness and, when picked late, the grape’s high sugar level. Grown in slate and chalky soil, German riesling’s minerality braces its apple, peach and pear aromas and flavors. Like Gewurztraminer, riesling does best in cool climates.
Knipser winery, dating to 1876, is in Laumersheim village in Germany’s Pfalz region. Werner Knipser, a chemist, took over the estate from his father in 1981; currently, he is partnered with his brother Volker and his son Stephan. The winery was awarded Producer of the Year in 2009 by the prestigious French publication, Gault Millau. Its acclaim is based on white and red wines, the latter being unusual in Germany.
The family team blended an equal amount of Gewurztraminer and Riesling for their 2007 wine. The wine is classified spatlese, which under Germany’s classification system indicates the wine was made from fully ripe grapes. The Knipsers’ 2007 blend is blooming with Gewurztraminer’s flowery and spice scents and Riesling’s pear aroma. A very tasty mix of pear, vanilla and white peach flavors are supported by riesling’s acidity, giving the wine balance and length.
The 2007 Knipser Gewurztraminer-Riesling is an ideal wine for Thanksgiving. It will be a good partner to the turkey and all the trimmings, and its ripe fruit flavors and off-dry character can bridge many taste preferences. And the low 9.5 percent alcohol content is an added enjoyment.
Only 158 cases of this wine were made. The American importer brought in 60 cases, so don’t delay in getting yours.
The 2007 Knipser Gewurztraminer-Riesling retails for approximately $31.