Monday, August 11, 2008

Oh, Canada! A Great Gewurztraminer

Our neighbors to the north make some great wine--and not just ice wine, either. Until now, I have to admit that the only Canadian wines that I've had were the lovely dessert wines that are made after grapes freeze on the vines.

But I just opened up a 2006 Konzelmann Estate Winery Gewurztraminer Reserve and it was an excellent QPR revelation. ($11.99, Costco; available online for under $15) The 2005 vintage is pictured to the left, because I threw out the bottle before taking a label shot. The Konzelmann's have been making wine since the 19th century, first in Germany and more recently on Lake Ontario. They selected their Canadian site because it has a microclimate similar to Alsace, and is particularly well-suited to Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Chardonnay.

For just over $10 I enjoyed their off-dry Gewurztraminer that had almost textbook varietal characteristics. The wine was a rich, golden color. Pronounced, perfumed aromas of peach blossom and flowers were the preamble to flavors of peach, nectarines, and golden delicious apples. Everything about this wine was sun-drenched and juicy, and though the wine was off-dry it seemed more soft than sweet and in good balance.

This wine would be perfect with spicy Thai or Indian food, where the sweet fruity flavors would be a nice counterpoint to the warm cumin and coriander and bright lemongrass and basil that are common in foods from these regions. We had it with Coconut Curry Pork with Snow Peas. The meat and vegetables were tossed in a sauce made with coconut milk and Thai red curry paste. The dish has cubes of mango in it, and the mango brought out all the rich peach and nectarine flavors. With some nutty brown rice and this juicy Gewurztraminer, it was an ideal pairing.

What was the last Canadian wine that you had? If you have any suggestions for other good value Canadian bottlings, please leave them in the comments below.



Anonymous said...

i think this is tasty

Anonymous said...

"textbook varietal characteristics"

...ha! The only New World place I've had such a wine is from NZ...and both are about $50 each.

Joe said...

Living in Canada you'd think I would drink more, but living in "la belle province" of Quebec the stores cater to "la francophonie" (and that is where my heart lies). Sandhill is the best Okanagan winery I have tasted, but the Osoyoos Larose was the best single Canadian wine I have tasted. Chateau des Charmes makes great whites in Niagara, this Viognier was particularly impressive, but they are better known for chardonnay and pinot noir. Cheers, eh!

Dr. Debs said...

I don't know Jack, I call them as I see them. And if you're looking for $50 wine reviews, you're on the wrong site! Thanks for all those suggestions, Joe. We don't see much of the Canadian bottles in CA, but one can hope!