Located in northeast France between the Vosges Mountains and the Rhine River, Alsace has a cool continental climate and dry summer days – supported by the Vosges’ protective rain-shadow effect – which yield aromatic, typically dry and relatively full-bodied whites with a telltale minerality and vivid varietal expressiveness.
Gewurztraminer’s heady spicy, floral and tropical-fruit profile; lower acidity; and higher alcohol level provide richness on the palate. Alsatian whites are a best-kept secret by oenophiles, revered for their food compatibility, longevity and value-driven prices. Alsatian Gewurztraminer pairs well with spicy Asian dishes, roasted duck and strong cheeses as well as the fish and pork dishes traditionally served at spring holiday gatherings.
Gustave Lorentz Gewurztraminer Réserve 2009
This wine delivers rich tropical fruits on the palate marked by lychees and mangos with underlying notes of petrol and rose water and a slightly sweet zest-of-lime crispness on the finish. Pair with Creole chicken, ham fried rice, poached salmon with cucumber raita or Valdeon cheese.
$21.99; Randall’s Wines & Spirits, 1910 S. Jefferson Ave., Benton Park, shoprandalls.com
Helfrich Gewurztraminer 2008
There is an elegant balance to this Gewurztraminer’s transition from pink grapefruit and allspice aromas to kumquat preserves and mangoes on the palate, with relatively subdued floral nuances. This semidry wine makes a splendid pair with a honey-glazed and apricot-stuffed pork shoulder, coriander-crusted duck breast, or tropical fruit cobbler with coconut gelato.
$12.99; Grapevine Wines, 309 S. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood, grapevinewinesandcheese.com
A St. Louis-based wine and food enthusiast, Jennifer Johnson is a sommelier, wine educator, journalist, and hospitality and marketing consultant who loves to celebrate life, family, food and wine.