Updated July 19th 2023
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 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.
Gewurztraminer is a difficult name to pronounce, which might scare people off from trying this grape variety. That is a shame, because it gives some of the most interesting aromatic wines. This 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. As a result, Gewurztraminer pairs well with spicy dishes as well as foods that are usually tricky to pair with wine. To find the best food pairings for Gewurztraminer, it is important to pair the characteristics of the wine with the characteristics of the food.
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. This grape variety is planted in many countries, but there are actually not many Gewurztraminer vines planted in the world, despite the fact that Gewurztraminer is considered one of the 18 noble grape varieties.
Gewurztraminer is made in different sweetness levels. Semi-sweet style and dry are the most common, but late-harvest is also made.
If you like aromatic white wines like Riesling, Moscato, Torrontés and Viognier you should give Gewürztraminer a try. Some people describe it as a more “mature” aromatic wine because it is slightly heavier and less zippy.
Note: In German-speaking country the grape variety is spelled Gewürztraminer.
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. Gewurztraminer wines are often described as having an oily texture.
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 aromas of lychee and rose are usually the easiest way to identify Gewurztraminer in a blind tasting.
The intensity of Gewurztraminer is also due to its low acidity and 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 their aromas, low acidity and high alcohol, Gewurztraminer wines often taste sweeter than they are.
Gewurztraminer and Riesling are both aromatic white wines with a natural sweetness, which can sometimes make it difficult to tell the difference between these two grape varieties.
The main differences are:
The grapes' aromas are also slightly different. Riesling has characteristic aromas of jasmin, citrus, wax and sometimes petrol. It is also more widely produced in the world due to its popularity.
In terms of food pairing, both grapes pair well with flavorful and spicy dishes, and pungent cheeses. However, due to their differences in acidity and alcohol, food pairing for each grape 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 flavorful dishes that are slightly 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 palate 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 an especially good pairing with dishes that have a touch of sweetness. Duck with honey glaze or a sweet berry sauce will match 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 pairs well with many fish dishes, but especially with 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 choice to pair with these dishes. It is especially good with white pizza (no tomato sauce) with lots of cheese.
This wine also pairs well with pasta dishes with roasted vegetables and strong cheeses.
Sweet tasting vegetables like pumpkin, roasted paprika, squash, aubergine and sweet potato will taste wonderfully with Gewurztraminer. 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 an especially 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 grape's natural sweetness, Gewurztraminer wines matches with some sweet desserts. Flavorful desserts with tropical fruit and/or spices like cinnamon and cardamom.
Good desserts with Gewurztraminer are:
Tips! Always choose a wine that is at least as sweet as your food. If your dessert is very sweet, choose a sweet Gewurztraminer.
Enjoy your food and wine!