Gewurztraminer produces some of the most aromatic white wines in the world. With an intense perfume of lychees, roses and ginger, Gewurztraminer pairs well with a spicy food and many other dishes. In this wine guide you will learn more about this aromatic grape variety and the best food pairings for Gewurztraminer.
Published April 8th 2021
Gewurztraminer is a difficult name to pronounce which it might scare people off from trying this grape variety. That is a shame, because Gewurztraminer gives some of the most interesting aromatic wines. The grape has a natural sweetness and most wines are made in the off-dry style. In combination with high alcohol and aromas of lychee and flowers, this wine is intensely perfumed.
If you like aromatic white wines like Riesling, Moscato, Torrontés and Viognier you should give Gewürztraminer a try. Some people describe it a more “mature” aromatic wine because it is slightly heavier and less zippy.
Gewurztraminer pairs very well with many different types of foods, including spicy dishes and foods that are usually tricky to pair with wine. To find the best food pairings for Gewurztraminer, it is important to take pair the characteristics of the wine with the characteristics of the food.
Gewurztraminer is a dry or semi-sweet aromatic white wine with a characteristic aromas of lychees and roses. It is a pink-skinned grape variety which produces wines with an intense yellow color. The texture is often described as oily.
Some people would describe Gewurztraminer as an intense wine. It is highly perfumed with noticeable floral aromas in combination with sweet fruit, including lychee, grapefruit, pineapple and apricot. High-quality Gewurztraminer also has spicy aromas of ginger, cinnamon, honey and sometimes even smokey aromas. In fact, "Gewürz" in German means "spice" or "condiment".
Tips! The lychee and aromas of rose is usually the easiest way to identify Gewurztraminer in a blind tasting.
The intensity of the wine is also due to the low acidity and the high alcohol, which makes the wine feel more perfumed. The wine has residual sugar and is often produced in an off-dry (semi sweet) style. Because of the aromatics, the low acidity and the high alcohol, Gewurztraminer wines often taste sweeter than they are.
Gewurztraminer grows best in cold climate regions. The most famous region is Alsace in France, but it is also grown in Germany, Italy, USA, Chile, Australia and New Zealand. The grape variety is planted in many countries, but there are actually not that much Gewurztraminer planted in the world despite the fact that Gewurztraminer is considered one of the 18 noble grape varieties in the world.
Gewürztraminer is made i different sweetness levels. The semi-sweet style or dry is the most common, but late-harvest styles also exist.
Note: In German-speaking country the grape variety is spelled Gewürztraminer.
Gewurztraminer and Riesling are both aromatic white wines with a natural sweetness, which can make it difficult to tell the difference between these two grape varieties.
The main difference is:
The aromas are also slightly different. Riesling has characteristic aromas of jasmin, citrus, wax and sometimes petrol. Also, Riesling is more widely produced in the world due to its popularity.
In terms of food pairing, both grapes pair well with flavourful and spicy dishes and pungent cheeses, but due to the differences in acidity and alcohol, their food pairing differs a bit.
Tips! In our Riesling Food Pairing Guide you can learn more about which dishes to pair with Riesling.
Gewurztraminer pairs well with many different types of foods due to its natural sweetness and intense perfume. Especially aromatic and spicy dishes are great food parings with Gewurztraminer.
When paring Gewurztraminer with food you need to take into consideration the following characteristics of the wine:
The best serving temperature for Gewurztraminer is 7-10°C (45-48°F).
Gewurztraminer is a great wine choice for aromatic and flavourful dishes which are a little bit spicy. Asian cuisine with sweet and sour aromas usually pairs well with this semi-sweet wine. Also Middle Eastern and Moroccan dishes are great with Gewurztraminer. The sweetness in the wine will coat the tongue and make the heat in the food less obvious.
Gewurztraminer is a good match for these aromatic dishes:
Tips! In our wine guide Wine with Spicy Food you can learn more about how to match wine with spices.
Gewurztraminer pairs well with all types of poultry, including turkey, duck and chicken. It is especially a good pairing with dishes with a touch of sweetness. Duck with a honey glaze or a sweet berry sauce matches the sugar in the wine.
Gewurztraminer is a surprisingly great Thanksgiving wine and pairs well with the turkey meat and the sweet cranberry sauce.
It is also a great wine pairing with duck, especially slightly sweet dishes like duck à l’orange or Peking duck.
Gewurztraminer pair well with many fish dishes, but especially fatty fish like salmon. The oily texture of the fish will match the oily texture of the wine. The best fish pairings with Gewurztraminer are those without lemon and other acid condiments. If the food is too acid, it will not match well with a low-acid wine like Gewurztraminer. Try it with smoked fish!
Instead, pair Gewurztraminer with fish dishes with more aromatic and bold flavours such as:
Gewurztraminer might not be the first wine that comes to mind when pairing pizza and pasta, but it can be a good wine choice. It is especially good for white pizza (with no tomato sauce) with lots of cheese.
It also pairs well with pasta dishes with roasted vegetables and strong cheeses.
Tips! Avoid tomato-sauce! It is too acid for a Gewurztraminer.
Sweet tasting vegetables like pumpkin, roasted paprika, squash, aubergine and sweet potato will taste wonderful with Gewurztraminer. Also slightly spicy vegetarian dishes, such as wok, curries and spring rolls are also good pairings.
Tips! Any vegetarian dish with fruits, such as salads with mango/pineapple/grapefruit will most likely pair well with a Gewurztraminer.
An aromatic and slightly sweet wine like Gewurztraminer is a great cheese wine. The intense perfume of the wine will match the bold flavours of pungent cheeses. Gewurztraminer is especially a great pairing with wash-rind cheeses like:
These stinky cheeses require a sweet and aromatic wine to balance the strong aromas of the cheese.
Tips! Read our Wine & Cheese Pairing Guide if you want to learn more about finding the perfect wine for your cheese.
Due to the grapes natural sweetness, Gewurztraminer wines matches with some sweet desserts. Flavourful desserts with tropical fruit and/or spices like cinnamon and cardamom.
Good desserts with Gewurztraminer are:
Tips! Always choose a wine which is at least as sweet as your food. If your dessert is very sweet, choose a sweet Gewurztraminer.
Enjoy your food and wine!