Aged Alsatian Gewurtz

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by John Simson, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. I enjoy young Gewurtz and it's ridiculous Five Alive-esque qualities. No experience of it with bottle age though.

    Recently took a punt on a Boxler Gewurtztraminer Reserve from 2009 that I spotted gathering dust in a French caviste. What should I expect?

    And more generally, does Gewurtz age well?
  2. I've had some absolutely stunning old Z-H bottles.
    John Simson likes this.
  3. Not Alsace of course, but Dry River in NZ do a Gewurz very much in the Alsace style which needs that much time to show at its best.
    Antoine Singer likes this.
  4. I prefer them young, but Weinbach ages impeccably.
    I've had various VT which were long distance runners. Hugel & Ostertag SGNs appeared nearly indestructible.
    John Simson likes this.
  5. You've reminded me that I have some Alsace gewurz lingering in the cellar that probably needs opening.

    Here are some notes (all from 9 or 10 years ago) on Alsace gewurztraminers with around 20 years of age.

    • 1991 Rolly Gassmann Gewurztraminer Oberer Weingarten de Rorschwihr - France, Alsace (29/12/2009)
      A mature gewurztraminer nose. Quite raisiny on the palate. Feels a touch over the hill, but when you drink it with the Munster, it really comes alive and delights. (92 pts.)
    • 1992 Cave Vinicole de Kientzheim-Kaysersberg Gewurztraminer Schlossberg - France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru (29/12/2009)
      A remarkably light, bright lemon gold appearance. This has very slightly refermented in the bottle and has a bit of spritz on the palate. But the refermentation hasn't served it too badly and there's still a lovely weight on the palate. Better than I'd suspected it might be. (90 pts.)
    • 1989 Domaines Schlumberger Gewurztraminer Cuvée Anne - France, Alsace (16/10/2009)
      1989 revisited offline (Hambleton Hall, Rutland)
      : A deep tropical fruit nose with a bit of a cinammon backbone. Very balanced, and - notably so for a gewurztraminer - really quite classy feeling. It's very balanced in the mouth. Perfumed, but not excessively so. Very impressive.
      But it's a wine that very clearly works best drunk on its own - it would make a decent aperitif.
      It didn't work with any of the food that I tried it with, but was particularly disastrous with a foie gras parfait, which just killed it completely dead. I can't remember a wine which was so completely killed by a dish which you would expect to work well with it. (92 pts.)
    • 1989 Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Goldert Vendange Tardive - France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru (16/10/2009)
      1989 revisited offline (Hambleton Hall, Rutland)
      : A big, very ripe nose. The trademark (for me) Zind Humbrecht power above all else. It's a completely full on Gewurz, and is really very good, but is a bit hard work on its own, and marred on the finish a touch of alcoholic burn.
      This really, really needs food to make it drinkable with pleasure: it was by far the best match with a foie gras parfait and - later in the meal - with some Lincolnshire Poacher cheese. (89 pts.)
    • 1989 Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl - France, Alsace (11/04/2008)
      Wine-Pages Alsace Offline (St John Restaurant, London)
      : A very dry nose - almost drying out. Hmm, a bit oxidised actually. Very good palate: the oxidation I think has helped it by cutting the excesses of the gewurztraminer.
      Actually very good with terrine of foie gras: the bit of oxidation really seems to help it with the food. (89 pts.)
    John Simson likes this.
  6. A few old Gewurz turned-up at the Nottingham Wednesday group last month, John. One was a 2000 from Caves de Turkheim and the other was 1994 Schlumberger Gewurztramminer Fleur. Both were still full of character. In both cases age had blunted some of the more obvious Five Alive-ness of young Gewurz and blind I found them hard to unpick from Pinot Gris. But both very drinkable & enjoyable. I'd expect your Boxler to be good.
    John Simson likes this.
  7. Can do.

    More the sweeter fuller styles I'd say which can gain richness and complexity whilst the overt sweetness recedes.

    ZH Clos Windsbuhl 02 is rather nice at the moment and probably has a good few years left in it for example.

    I've never really aged a dry Gewurtz apart from Trimbachs CSR, which I don't think ages as well as their similar Pinot Gris and Riesling.
  8. Definitely Five Alive and not Um Bongo?
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  9. The question of aging Gewurz is tricky. Over-aged ones are pretty foul, and I say this as a lover of Gewurz. But ones that have taken age well can be stupendous.

    Among the best old ones (15 - 20 years+) I've had have been Trimbach's lovely (and dry) Seigneur de Ribeaupierre (in contrast to Gareth by the sounds of it) and Leon Boesch's Zinnkopfle but many of the others mentioned above are great too.
  10. I have experienced an old gewurz that was disgustingly vegetal (it was also quite warm and I was on a coach, and literally felt sick). Can't remember the details - tried to forget the experience as quickly as possible. Does that sound like your "petty foul" Colin? At the time I put it down to the age of the wine, but looking back the bottle could simply have been faulty.
  11. Usually dislike Alsace Gewurz intensely, but I do often enjoy the real stuff, i.e. the Sudtirol variety from around Tramin. Seems to have much better balance than its Alsace equivalent. Definitely a case of the original being the best, IMO.
  12. People used to think it orginated from the Tramin region, but "historical and genetic data suggest that Savagnin [the same variety as Traminer and Gewurz] was born in north-east France and south-west Germany", according to Wine Grapes. The same book also lists the evidence evidence for it not originating around Tramin.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  13. The very greatest age as well as anything else from Alsace, including Riesling at its best. But for Gewurz, that also means having some degree of sweetness.

    Last year, an amazing bottle of Hugel Beerenauslese 1961 was every bit as good as remembered it, but I hadn't tasted it for almost twenty years. I have also had superb bottles of Hugel BA and VT 1967 and BA 1971 in recent years, as well as a very fine bottle of a Trimback SGN 1967 for a 50th birthday (under the Heydt label). Of Schlumberger, the last really fine vintage was 1971, and the Cuvee Anne should still be good drinking (much better than the overrated 1976).

    The very best Gewurz I know of recent times is the Deiss Quintessence1989 that transcends the grape: there is no rush to drink that up! (The Deiss Altenberg de Bergheim SGN 1989 is also very fine.)
  14. I was assuming that the question related to the more “every day” types, i.e. disregarding the high-end and/or sweet versions such as VT and SGN, which can indeed age magnificently.

    Steve - I certainly recognise your “vegetal” description but I’ve experienced various manifestations of foul old Gewurz :)

    Mark - Inthink you must have been unlucky with the Alsace versions you’ve tried. For my part, I’ve had some disappointing Italian examples among the good ones.
  15. We must polish it off together then. Pop round with a suitable cheese sometime!
    Andy Leslie likes this.
  16. That was indeed an amazing bottle, though somehow I didn't really register the cepage properly.
  17. I was thinking a couple of days ago that there are a number of grapes that have a reputation for not ageing well when in fact, when made well, quite the reverse is true. Gewurztraminer sprang to mind, along with Melon de Bourgogne and Sauvignon Blanc. I then started to wonder whether there are any grapes that fundamentally cannot make age-worthy wine or whether it is viticulture and vinification that are the key determinants.
  18. Gewurzt does age surprising well, especially considering the very low acid. I opened a 2002 Schoffit Alexandra a couple of days ago, unfortunately totally oxidised.
  19. To pick up on that... Gewurz and SB (and I would add Muscat to the list) are primarily valued for their primary aromas, which of course disappear with aging. I think that is the reason they are usually said not to age well. Melon is a different kettle of fish.
  20. I've also got a Boxler 2009 (Quercamps!) and a Wine Society Exhib of the same vintage John - it's been a while since I've had an older one, but my impression is that Gewurz gets richer and headier as it ages, sometimes taking on a glorious rancidity which I imagine would turn many off. It's also one of the few wines (in its simpler versions) I choose to drink at the start of its life.
  21. Gauntleys of Nottingham have a nice selection of gewurz with some age from Boxler, Barmes Buecher and others.
  22. I have notes on a few:

    I’ve also had enjoyable bottles of 2001 Mann Steingrubler, 1990 ZH Goldert VT, 1999 Weinbach Cuvée Laurence, and 1994 Burn Goldert SGN in the last few years.
  23. Viognier springs to mind and most advice I've seen has been to drink it young.

    One mustn't forget Chardonnay grown in Burgundy as well :mad:
    Mark Carrington likes this.
  24. Having enjoyed 40yr old Condrieu, Viognier is one that I should have added to the list alongside Muscadet and Sauvignon Blanc.
  25. Yes but that is not the grape’s fault :)
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