Give Me Gewurz!

During the recent sale, I picked up two different domestic Gewurztraminers and decided I had an excellent opportunity to taste them side-by-side.  I liked them both.  Will wonders never cease (as my dear mother used to say)?  Here’s the scoop.

IMG_0986The first G wine I tasted was the 2010 Swallow from Oregon at 13% alcohol.  Price is $3.99 ($3.19 for the sale).  From the web site I can’t tell if they’re still in operation.  I bought my bottle at the Kenmore, WA GO, but I believe the Silverdale store also carries it.  It was my first visit to the Kenmore store (near my in-laws’ home where I visited on Mother’s Day) and I must say that I was most impressed with their selection and the physical space they’ve provided for their wine display.  Kudos to the proprietor and employees.

Now, back to the wine.  Brilliant pale golden; distinctly varietal spicy floral and lychee nut aromas; in the mouth it’s leaning toward the sweeter side of the Gewurz spectrum ( what I consider to be the more Americanized style).  But it shows fairly intense spiced apple, lychee and slightly piney flavors with a nice touch of bitterness in the seriously long finish.  There’s an Alsatian richness to this wine—similar to though not as extracted as a Vendange Tardive style.  Overall it has great Gewurz characteristics in the nose and the mouth.  I’m liking it and will return for more, but it’s likely too sweet for some of our readers.  Should do well with spicy Asian foods.  Special Note: Be aware that the 2009 vintage of this wine is also out there in some GO’s.  See my take on the ’09 in reply comments below about a brief comparison of the two vintages.

IMG_0984Next is the 2010 Ventana Arroyo Seco, CA Gewurz at 13.7% alc. that I purchased at the Silverdale, WA store.  Price is a whopping $10.99 ($8.79 for the sale) and $22.00 at the winery.  Back label indicates that it’s “sustainably grown” in Monterey County. My notes: Clear pale straw; nose is slow to release it’s bouquet, then shows green apple and light five spice, straddling the line between Riesling and Gewurz character.  In the mouth it’s off-dry and light, but showing some extraction from light skin contact.  Flavors are more lemony than most Gewurz with subdued Granny Smith apple.  It lacks the intensity of the Swallow, which is strange because when I tasted it at my local GO, it seemed mighty varietal.  About an hour’s time brings out it’s best in fragrance and flavors, but it’s a more delicate style.  A decent Gewurz, but IMHO it’s way overpriced, even at the sale price with 20% off.

Final results: Thumbs Up for both for different reasons, but I’m only buying more of the Swallow.  As it’s back label states, “Distinctive wines at a price you can Swallow.”

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23 thoughts on “Give Me Gewurz!

  1. BargainWhine

    Tonight I opened my other bottle of the 2010 Swallow that I got during the November 2013 sale. It’s still quite delicious. I made a lightly curried red lentil and sweet potato stew and the wine did not really stand up to it, so I think the wine is not very sweet, just ripely fruity and floral.

    Reply
    1. flitcraft

      Ooh, red lentil and sweet potato stew sounds delicious. Was the curry a garam masala based curry or more turmeric and coriander based?

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine

        Hi Flitcraft. Um… Yes! I used garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, caraway, white pepper, ginger, oregano, and bay leaf. These were “Japanese” sweet potatoes with purple skin and white flesh and, since we had some around after my kid and I had fun opening it, I grated in a little fresh coconut. It added a nice subtle flavor and creaminess. The grown-ups supplemented it with a dab of chili sauce. Thanks for asking! 🙂

        Reply
        1. flitcraft

          Thanks for the recipe idea! I suspect that a lot of GO wine shoppers are also pretty dab hands in the kitchen.

          Reply
    2. lim13 Post author

      Appreciate the update, BW. Intense fruit is often perceived as sugar, so you may just be right. I’ve still got a few stashed down in the cellar and like so many of the Rieslings I’ve had, it may keep well for many years. Not bad for a $4.00 Gewurz!

      Reply
  2. wineoracle

    I tried a bottle of the 09 Swallow Gewurz, and was disappointed. Not much fruit, not much sweetness, not much aroma and not much acidity. Just not much to like there for me. I like Foris wines a lot, and I was expecting more. I guess that’s why this is on the second label.

    Reply
  3. wanderingblonde

    I bought a bottle of the Swallow 2010 yesterday at our Sequim store, I think it was 3.99. Today I cooked some tortellini with pesto for lunch and gave it a try. I chilled it well and by the time I had a chance to eat lunch it was past two and the day had turned very sunny and warm. Nice to see the snow covered mountains while we walk about in shorts and t shirts.

    The pesto might seem like an odd pairing but it worked, this is a wine with the complexity to stand on it’s own as well as the bite to cut through the richness of traditional basil pesto and the cheese stuffed tortellini, and it succeeded. The pasta made the wine seem less sweet and the wine made the pasta taste less rich. The finish seems to linger a very long time, the sweet balanced by a distinctive citrus component, reminds me of Meyer lemons a little. Bet it would be terrific with our local oysters.

    I would think that if were lounging about outside on a summer afternoon with a great book and some fresh fruit at your side, this would assist in handily reaching a nirvana -ish state. Would be nice with sushi too, nice and cold.

    I will return to the Sequim store and purchase more. Hope there is some left, its a great summer wine. It would hold up well with our Dungeness crabs, especially when I serve them with a mustard sauce, that can dwarf a Sauvignon blanc or a Pinot Gris. Further research is required and this is within the budget @3.99 a bottle.

    Reply
    1. bin5

      I am lounging on the deck right now with the Swallow in my hand. I am enjoying it and will probably pick up a few more. Nice wine for the money.

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        I have seen this wine in Berkeley and Oakland. If I did not have 4 or 5 bottles of gewurtz that I’ve had for years, I’d try it.

        Reply
    2. lim13 Post author

      Welcome wanderingblonde…nice to hear from you. Glad you found and really liked the Swallow Gewurz. I would think it would do quite well with pesto and your comments certainly support that. I likely wouldn’t try it with oysters, but that’s just my preference. I tend to eat my oysters raw and well-chilled with bone dry, high acid whites. The sweetness, spiciness and lower acid would rule out the Swallow for me. Dry, unoaked Sauvignon Blancs or Semillons (and not those from New Zealand) usually do the trick.

      Reply
  4. L.Singleterry

    Swallow is the second label of Foris at Cave Junction,Oregon;thus your inability to source info on the producer.

    Reply
    1. lim13 Post author

      Appreciate the info. I knew that Foris was one of at least a half dozen wineries in the Cave Junction area (as I did research that), but couldn’t determine which one it was. Thanks, L.

      Reply
    2. wineoracle

      Foris does some great things with whites. I think I saw some at the 4th Ave store, and I’ll have to see if there’s still some around.

      Reply
      1. lim13 Post author

        Very possibly not convenient for you, WO…but I bought four more of the 2010 at the Kenmore store on Sunday and there was still lots. The Silverdale store still has only the 2009.

        Reply
  5. Matt Fox

    I got a couple of the Swallows in Walla Walla on the last day of the sale, and risked buying two because they were cheap and looked promising–how bad is a bad gewurz after all? you can always just think of it as cold juice, enjoy it, and move on, right? Glad to hear it got your thumbs up.

    Reply
    1. lim13 Post author

      I like your perspective, Matt. Cold juice…yeah! Looking forward to your thoughts when you get around to opening a bottle. For just a tad more than three bucks a bottle, I think you’ll be o.k.

      Reply
    2. lim13 Post author

      Just a brief word to the wise. After buying this wine at the Kenmore store, I received an e-mail that the Silverdale GO also had it, so I stopped by today to pick up a few more bottles. But alas, it’s all the 2009 vintage! And there are a number of cases of it. I bought one bottle and immediately tried it. The nose and flavors are very similar to the 2010. To my palate it’s a little less rich and lacks the same aromatic intensity, but it’s still very good. The ’09 is also 13.6% alc. as compared to the ’10 at 13%. If you like this style of Gewurz, you really can’t go wrong with either one. Both vintages are $3.99…a steal.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine

        I opened a bottle of the 2009 Swallow this evening and liked it a lot. Compared to your notes for the 2010, I thought this was less sweet and and aromatic, more dry and with grape skin bitterness (in a very good way, IMO); otherwise similar. If it’s still at the Berkeley store ($4 as I recall), I’ll get a couple more bottles.

        Reply
        1. BargainWhine

          Last night, I opened the bottle of 2010 Swallow I found recently at the Richmond, CA, store. It was delicious and as you’ve described, more ripely floral and fruity than the 2009. However, although I’m unable to do the side-by-side comparison, I think I preferred the more austere structure and IMO greater complexity of the 2009. Still, the 2010 beat the hell out of the other GO whites I opened last night.

          Reply
          1. lim13 Post author

            Glad you enjoyed them both, BW. I really don’t think you can lose with either vintage…especially at the price!

            Reply
  6. Seedboy

    I think that the wines that came in for the sale were priced to account for the 20% off. Berkeley still has some of that Swanson wine (did anyone buy it?) and the Monsanto CC Reserva, I wonder how long they will be around before the price drops..

    Reply

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