This month the #WinePW crew is looking to pair with Asian dishes, led by Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. The premise is Saké or another wine with Asian dishes. I enjoy saké, but it is something that I enjoy the ceremony of, out at a sushi restaurant with friends. Oh great, now I’m nostalgic, remembering late-night post-show dinner with good friends and hugs that last too long. Yep…okay, taking a sip of tea banishing the mistiness, that and saké are for another day.
At this point in my life, I don’t do saké at home. It’s just for being out with very special friends and it will stay that way for now. But, I do like Asian cuisine and in addition to saké, there are some great wines that go with these foods. Today we will dip into Gewürztraminer.
The #WinePW (wine pairing weekend) crew will gather on Saturday, January 9th on Twitter to dive into the pairings we each came up with. You can join us! Just hop on to Twitter at 8 am (Pacific time) on Saturday morning and follow and use the hashtag #WinePW to join the conversation.
You will find all the pieces by my colleagues at the bottom of this post.
This grape is an aromatic variant of Savagnin. It makes a full-bodied and distinctly perfumed white wine with notes of lychee and roses. When grown in Alsace, it has been known to also have notes of bacon fat (yum!).
It is the offspring of Pinot and like its parent is prone to mutation. At harvest, it is known for its variegated pink tones and the wines it produces are deeply golden often with copper tones.
Gewürztraminer buds early so it is prone to frost and it is also prone to viruses. If it gets too warm it can be bland or oily and might have bitter notes.
The best of this variety come from Alsace. But there are 1,700 or so acres planted in California, with half of those being in Monterey, which is where our wine comes from.
Fetzer Shaly Loam Gewürztraminer
This wine is from Monterey County and as its name implies, is grown in Shaly Loam soils. Monterey Wine Country has 8 primary soils, almost all are loam (sand and silt). This shaly loam has limestone and fossilized seashells, and the vineyards enjoy fog and sunshine. The soil elevates the aromas in this wine.
*This wine was received as a media sample. No other compensation was received and all opinions are our own.*
This wine has a sweet joyful nose. Smelling this wine will just put you in a good mood. Remember that animated film with the heroine (ie princess) in the forest singing with bluebirds chirping along, bunnies and squirrels scurrying about, and butterflies everywhere! Yeah, like that!
Smell that lychee! There is a bit of Asian pear, the delicate note of roses, and then honeysuckle. There is sweetness on the nose too, this is a semi-sweet wine. Take a sip and you might get a bit of effervescence. This wine while semi-sweet has acid to balance and keep it from being cloying. It is medium weight, but not heavy and is altogether satisfying.
100% Gewürztraminer, 12% abv, $10 SRP
Take a moment and look again at that price. This wine won’t break the bank as you step carefully into this new year. On top of that, Fetzer is a Certified B Corp. They were the first winery in the world to publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions to the Climate Registry. These guys work hard to keep their impact on the planet low. (you can read more about them in our piece “Merlot from 2 big-name companies, that are worth finding for different reasons”.
On the back of their label, they proudly have their Certified B Corp logo with a note
“We are proud to be a certified B Corporation, part of a growing movement using business as a force for good”.
This is America’s #1-Selling Gewürztraminer.
Pairings from across the Globe
Almost 9,000 miles away from Alsace, the native home of Gewürztraminer, you will find Thailand. It is strange and wonderful that places so far apart might find compatibility in food and wine pairings. I suppose it is like the contrasting colors on a color wheel. But pair indeed they do. The spicy notes of many Thai dishes are mellowed by the slight sweetness of the wine and the aromatics in the wine elevate the food. It’s not just me, who thinks this is a good pairing. Head to your favorite Thai restaurant, chances are you will find Riesling and Gewürztraminer in abundance on the wine list.
Thai Red Curry with Shrimp and Vegetables
I went through a dozen recipes and several videos compiling my recipe for Thai Red Curry. Once I created my recipe, I went shopping online and, well, pandemic and all, there were several things I was not able to find, like dried shitake mushrooms, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, Thai basil…I’ll let you know in the recipe where you could add these things, but we adapted our recipe to do without the lime leaves. I substituted dried lemongrass and different basil. I couldn’t get fresh broccoli so we used broccoli rabe. Our mushrooms? No dried shitake mushrooms, no dried mushrooms were available at all. I checked for fresh mushrooms and the only thing we could find were stuffed mushroom caps! LOL! So, we will empty them and find a use later for the filling.
Yes, I threw the kitchen sink at this dish, and you don’t have to! Choose a protein and skip the other vegetables or vice versa. I love vegetables but wanted to add the shrimp for Michael. I made this dish approachable in its flavors, using just one chili while cooking the shrimp. You can most definitely amp up the heat. I also used pre-made red curry paste. You can make your own or just add to the spices if you like.
This dish cooks in a dutch oven and we accompanied it with Jasmine rice, garnished with lime, cashews, and green onions.
This was a wonderful simple pairing. The sweetness of the wine with the spiciness of the dish and the aromatics of the dish and the wine that seem to elevate each other. In the future, I would amp up the spices to make the pairing with the Gewürztraminer work even better. Of course, you can always do this the easy way and get Thai takeout!
If you do want to give my recipe a try you can find it here. Thai Red Curry with vegetables and shrimp
Couldn’t help it, we did another pairing, that while not Asian cuisine, is certainly delicious. The following day we finished off our bottle of Gewurztraminer. I’m not sure how we had the discipline to not drink the whole bottle the first day! We paired this with sous vide pork chops with roasted vegetables (I had leftover vegetables from the Thai Red Curry), and apples cooked in butter with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. This was a pretty delicious pairing also.
Shoutout to Erin of Platings and Pairings for the recipe!
Asian cuisine pairings from #WinePW
Now let’s see what other delicious pairings the rest of the #WinePW crew discovered!
- Asian Appetizers Paired With Tozai Sake by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Cashew Chicken With A Crisp Riesling by Our Good Life
- Ground Pork Stir Fry with Collard Greens by Cooking Chat
- Knocking off CPK While Sipping SMV Riesling by Exploring the Wine Glass
- Japanese Sake and Octopus Salad by Avvinare
- Our Osechi Ryori おせち料理 (Japanese New Year’s Food), Other New Year’s Eve Traditions, + Recent Saké Explorations by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Rosé with Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup by The Quirky Cork
- Steak and Saké Night at the Culinary Cabin by Somm’s Table
- Sushi and Wine? Totally Fine! Here’s a Few to Try in 2021 by Wine Predator
- Tio Pepe Fino Sherry and Sushi/Sashimi: A Match Made in Heaven! by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
More on Gewürztraminer from Crushed Grape Chronicles
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.
So funny, I can’t find broccoli rabe anywhere but have kaffir lime leaves coming out my ears! And lychee, just bought a few to recalibrate. Nice pairing and Fetzer… although they were bought, the sustainable work they’ve done is more than admirable!
Ha! Where do you find kaffir lime leaves? Do you have a tree? I actually went with the broccoli rabe, because they were out of broccoli. I need to find lychee myself. I think I remember what it smells like, because it smells like Gewurz.
While Fetzer was bought by Concha y Toro, their commitment to sustainability thankfully remains. It’s good to have a big guy on the side of doing what is right.
This wine is delicious, joyful, and accessible, at least here in the states. This seems like a great way to treat yourself to a Tuesday night celebration with Thai take-out.
We’re like you, we rarely drink Sake and often reach for a gewurtz with Asian food. We’ve had that Fetzer before and it punches way above its weight (and we love that they’re B-Corp certified, not easy or inexpensive to attain). But then we get a bonus pairing? This may be our favourite post of the year 😉
I have to tell you, I think when you read the other posts, you might, like me, go out and look for some sake.
I have eaten well this week with these two pairings and worked on my beginning of the year self-control, by not finishing this bottle with Michael in one sitting. THAT was hard!
I’ll bet…we haven’t had that success yet lol…
Your description of the aromas of this Fetzer Gewurz is perfect! Lovely floral and fruit notes to brighten even the most trying day. As for the pairings, well, A+ all around.
Thank you, Lauren. It really is a joyful wine.
I love Gewürztraminer. I do prefer them more on the dry side though, but will give this one a try especially at that price.
I usually prefer them drier, but the sweetness with a spicy dish works well!
I love Gewürztraminer with Thai, the aromas are so complimentary.
Indeed. In addition to being delicious, the aromas from the wine and the food make for a sensory feast!
Sounds like a delicious pairing! Big fan of Gewurtz. My, sounds like your fresh produce options are pretty thin this winter.
Perhaps it was the day of the week that I ordered? It could have been the day before the produce truck. I’m sure I could have found some of this if I was willing to go out to a grocery store, but at this point, we are having groceries delivered.
Thai red curry is one of our favorite. Well, any curry. And when we do have Thai, we usually bicker about whether we want red or green. But I cannot wait to try this wine pairing. Gewürztraminer is never high on my list for some reason, but this looks positively amazing. Thanks for joining me this month, Robin.
I have to say, I usually lean more toward green curry myself, but this red curry was delicious! Pump up the spice a little and pair this with a semi-sweet Gewurz!
Thanks for being such a great host this month. I am now inspired to explore sake a bit more!
Your pairing looks and sounds amazing Robin. I don’t think I’ve had that Fetzer Gewurz…yet. Most definitely high QPR! Cheers!
Thanks, Martin! This Fetzer Gewurz is absolutely perfect to pair with Thai take-out! It’s affordable and widely available, and a great way for those unfamiliar with this grape to explore a new variety!
Interestingly, I’ve been craving a thai shrimp curry for several days, so I’m suddenly finding myself quite hungry and the Gewurz does sound like an excellent match!
If you go with a spicy curry, the Gewurz is a perfect match!