Gewürztraminer is an aromatic wine grape variety that performs best in cooler climates. It is sometimes referred to colloquially as Gewürz, and in French it is written Gewurztraminer (without the umlaut). Gewürztraminer is a variety with a pink to red skin colour, which makes it a "white wine grape" as opposed to the blue to black-skinned varieties commonly referred to as "red wine grapes". The variety has high natural sugar and the wines are white and usually off-dry, with a flamboyant bouquet of lychees. Indeed, Gewürztraminer and lychees share the same aroma compounds. Dry Gewürztraminers may also have aromas of roses, passion fruit and floral notes. It is not uncommon to notice some spritz (fine bubbles on the inside of the glass).
The name literally means "Spice Traminer", or "Perfumed Traminer".
The history of the Traminer family is complicated, and not helped by its rather unstable genome. The story starts with the ancient Traminer variety, a green-skinned grape that takes its name from the village of Tramin, located in South Tyrol, the German-speaking province in northern Italy. The famous ampelographer Pierre Galet thought that Traminer was identical to the green-skinned Savagnin Blanc (not Sauvignon Blanc) that makes vin jaune in the Jura. More recently it has been suggested that Savagnin Blanc acquired slight differences in its leaf shape and geraniol content as it travelled to the other end of the Alps.
Gewürztraminer's sweetness may offset the spice in Asian cuisine. It goes well with Hirtenkäse, Münster cheese, and fleshy, fatty (oily) wild game. smoked salmon is a particularly good match.