Gewurztraminer is the most complex white wine and has long aging potential, both qualities apparent in the 2010 J.Hofstatter Gewurztraminer Kolbenhof vineyard.
In 1907, Joseph Hofstatter founded his winery in Italy’s Alto Adige region, also known as the South Tyrol, which borders Austria. The primary language is German, as this region was part of Austria until ceded to Italy at the end of World War I.
Paolo Foradori married into the Hofstatter family in 1959, bringing prime vineyards to a recognized estate. Recently, his son Martin presented eight vintages of J.Hofstatter Gewurztraminer Kolbenhof dating from 1992 to 2009. It was an impressive retrospective, and my favorites were the 2005 and 2006.
Gewurztraminer is the joining of two words. Gewurz is German for spice and Traminer is a grape named for the town of Tramin in South Tyrol where the grape is believed to have originated a thousand years ago. Gewurztraminer was created when a mutation of the grape occurred in Alsace, France.
At its best, the spiciness of Gewurztraminer is a mix of any number of aromas and flavors such as allspice, ripe Camembert cheese, grapefruit, pineapple, guava, mango, lychee, vanilla, honeysuckle, apple blossoms, and more. Gewurztraminer is not for delicate palates and noses. And properly made, Gewurztraminer is not sweet- that is a misperception of this noble grape.
The Kolbenhof vineyard is on a mountainside above the village of Tramin, and is mentioned in documents from the 16th-century. Joseph Hofstatter purchased Kolbenhof in 1936; his nephew was the first to create a single-vineyard wine in South Tyrol and its success established the reputation of the winery.
Martin Foradori is particularly passionate about Gewurztraminer. In 1991, he began sharing the winemaker duties with is father; four vintages later, his father gave him the decision-making role. Martin assumed control of J.Hofstatter in 2000.
The 2010 J.Hofstatter Gewurztraminer Kolbenhof explodes honeysuckle, vanilla, white pepper, and melon aromas, and the mouth receives a bucket of lime, lemon and thyme flavor with a dry, mineral finish. This is a very appealing wine except for an aftertaste of alcohol, which I also found in the 2003, 2007 and 2009 vintages.
Pour a glass of the 2010 J.Hofstatter Gewurztraminer Kolbenhof with pork or beef sausages with lentils,an onion and bacon tart, roasted quail with red cabbage, chestnuts and apples. Or take it to your favorite Chinese BYOB restaurant serving Hunan or Szechuan cuisine.
The 2010 J.Hofstatter Gewurztraminer Kolbenhof retails for approximately $59.