Northern Michigan Wine: Gewürztraminer

Northern Michigan Wine: Despite its intimidating polysyllabic moniker, umlaut included, our Northern Michigan cool climate manifestations of the Gewürztraminer grape are straight up sexy. Batting its oeno-eyelashes in the shadow of Riesling, the ruddy-skinned gewürz has an aromatic profile somewhere between Chanel and tropical fruit salad, tickling the olfactories with scents of rose petal, lychee and passion fruit. The intensity of the aromas translates to the palate where they are offset by startling spiciness, bright acid and a sometimes oily viscosity. While it favors cool climates, gewürztraminer has high potential sugar and a propensity for late-ripening, making it one of the last varietals to be harvested in October. Grown near Traverse City on both Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas, local gewürz runs the gamut from bone dry and cerebral to unctuously sweet and hedonistic with better vintages aging well for five years or more. Pair these peppery darlings with spicy Asian cuisine, smoked salmon or squash bisque.

2010 Brys Estate Gewürztraminer Flirty floral aromatics with ripe tropical lychee and passion fruit, Brys brings pure love with this off-dry bottling from a banner vintage. Brys Estate, Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City.

2010 Bowers Harbor Gewürztraminer Look for loads of candied citrus peel and rose petal as Bowers Harbor draws on the spicy soul of gewürz with each rich and pleasant mouthful. Bowers Harbor, Old Mission Penninsula, Traverse City.

2009 Forty-Five North Gewürztraminer Forty-Five North swings for the tropical fruit fences, crafting a rounder more oily gewürz with loud and proud flavors of passion fruit, mango and papaya. Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery, Leelanau Peninsula.

2009 Bel Lago Gewürztraminer Rich and traditional, Bel Lago goes after the Alsatian aesthetic with a nuanced and full-bodied gewürztraminer showing lychee, rose and lots of spice. Bel Lago Vineyar & Winery, Leelanau Peninsula.

Article Comments

  • Anonymous

    Chateau Chantal makes a great dessert style Gewurztraminer – here’s what Detroit Wine Writer Sandra Silfven had to say, “On the palate, you get the sugar, the floral and spicy notes after it warms up in the glass. Overall, it’s a tremendous wine with distinct minerality that tames the sugar and usual tones of
    Gewurztraminer.”
    So many great wines to try in this world!

  • Anonymous

    Verterra has a great Gewurztraminer as well. It won a Silver medal at the Denver International Wine Competition.

  • Anonymous

    I bought 2 bottles of Peninsula Cellars Manigold Dry Gewurztraminer. There’s nothing like it anywhere in the Leelanau AVA for a bone dry, incredible taste. Pair this lovely offering with some really SPICY Thai food and taste it open up even further!