Wine pairing with Reuben: Gewürztraminer

The Saeurkraut Wine (Wine of the Week)

By: Lauren Voigt

Over the next few months, I’ll be exploring some of the lesser-known grape varieties as part of an “Wine of the week” class assignment for the Wine Professional course I’m currently enrolled in at Saint Paul College. JOIN ME! And let me know what you think of this variety in the comments below.


Gewürztraminer (gəˈvo͝ortstrəˌmēnər)

Gewürztraminer is obviously Deutsche for for “goes with everthing”, right?  Not really.
Gewurz = Spice
Traminer = Grape type

Image Credit: Wine Folly

Who would have guessed by the name though, that Gewurztraminer’s home is actually France, with Alsace producing the largest lot of it in the world? There, it is also named one of only 4 Grand Cru varieties — notable, considering Alsace grows over 50 varieties in all.

Researching Gewürztraminer  in our class text, Exploring Wine, while making a grocery list of appropriate compliments to shop for: “cold cuts, Jarlsberg, sauerkraut”.  Could it be? The perfect wine for my favorite sandwich, the Reuben?

Let’s find out.

First off, I picked the wine at Trade Joe’s during my grocery run. Scanning the aisles, “United States: Red, White, Misc Red, Misc. White; Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Blends” — I couldn’t find a Gewurz in the bunch.  After three laps around the store I spotted two lonely bottles of US Gewurz in the “Dessert Wine” section.  Interesting.

Fetzer ($6, California) and Chateau St Michelle ($9, Washington). Ofter sweating over whether I was getting some cheap mass-produced quaff from a store that wasn’t even sure where to shelve the stuff, I decided the Chateau St Michelle was the best bet.

Onto the wine. Light yellow, moderately aromatic – notes of grapefruit, peach and clove. I’d square this one as off-dry, with medium body and lively acidity.  Very nicely balanced, and reasonable complexity. I very much enjoyed it, and feel it was a good value for the price.

Chateau Ste Michelle Gewürztraminer IS an appropriate pairing for a Reuben on Pupernickel. Who would have thought?!

The Gewurz enhanced the Reuben in a way I didn’t imagine a wine/deli-sandwich combo could. Pumpernickel was the right decision for this sandwich, the nutty flavors offset nicely by the fruitiness of the wine, the sauerkraut a crisp bite to the acidic wine, and  the saltiness of the meat. The wine went nicely with the salad as well, a bit on the rustic side: kale slightly wilted by with warm raspberry vinaigrette and still-warm hard boiled egg.

Prost!


Have you tried Gewürztraminer? What did you think of it?  Let me know in the comments, below!

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