Gewurztraminer, 1979. A Gaschy

by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | September 1982

Some say that “Alsatian wines” should be called “French Rhine Wines”. I disagree. To prevent confusion, I would like to leave the Rhine designation to the German family of wines. Furthermore, I like the ring of Alsace. It is so distinct. It should not be removed from our wine vocabulary. That’s enough for Bacchic semantics!

Antoine Gaschy is mayor of Wettolsheim, and a leading vintner in his region. The vineyard holdings and the cellars have been in his family since 1619, through all the political changes and wars that have criss-crossed this region. It is a wonder that this land looks so peaceful and unravaged.

A veritable picture book landscape, Wettolsheim is located between Munster and Colmar, down from the east slope of the Vosges mountains. Known for its wines and unique cuisine, the Alsace stands apart from the other French regions. Here you will find different grapes and unusual dishes that are unique to the area. Wine making dates to Roman times, and so does the penchant for goose liver specialties. If you skip Alsace on a visit to France, you have missed an experience.

The Gewurztraminer grape is one of the seven classed as “cepages nobles”. The emphasis here is the type of grape, rather than the vineyard areas as in other regions of France. Wine labeled with the grape name must be 100% of that variety. Gewurztraminers from the Alsace have not been duplicated anywhere else. They have a flowery character that is so fresh and delicate, one can pretty well identify them. The classical wine will be light, spicy, fragrant, and long on the finish. It can be made as a dry version, or in the full spectrum of sweetness levels. We in California have come close, but never hit the mark in producing an Alsatian style Gewurz. (Now I am not saying we should try to imitate… We have our own thing to do… I encourage that…).

This Gaschy Gewurztraminer is straw yellow in color. It has a deep varietal aroma, intensely flowery and penetrating. I call it a ” candy ” nose. The wine has a medium body, and the fruity, spicy flavor makes you think it is going to be sweet; but it stops you in your tracks…with its dryness. It is strange in a pleasing way, and a classical example of these delightful wines of Alsace. Serve with fresh fruit, cream type cheeses, or with a curry meal.

Cellaring Notes: Not for ageing. Ready.

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