Würz is ther German term for Spice, meaning that this grape variety is supposed to be a spicy traminer... Well, it's certainly unique! Round, mouth-coating yet dry, this is a wine that you'll not forget. Trimbach's is also a benchmark version that is superbly made. Notes of rose buds, lychee and Turkish Delight and mandarin fill the palate with hints of honey and blossom. An aromatic delight that will lead you to think that it could be sweet... but it isn't!
Classic, dry and age-worthy, this is consistently the most sought- after Gewurz that we know of. Like the other varietal wines from Trimbach, this is excellent with food, but especially good with Chinese and richer sauce-based Japanese dishes or soft cheeses and if you really like it, it is a gorgeous aperitif.
Gewürztraminer is instantly divisive. Because of its intensity, aromatic character and flavour makeup - lots of sweet flavours - it leads people to quickly assume it is a dessert wine or that it has residual sugar. There are certainly wonderful sweet versions - Vendage Tardive or Selection des Grains Nobles in Alsace are some of the finest - but it is usually dry. It has a propensity to ripen well and has low natural acidity, which adds to the illusion of sweetness, and it also has higher than average alcohol for a white wine. None of these facets are popular! But because it is a Noble grape in one of France's most important wine regions, grown in some of the best vineyard sites, by the top producers, it retains its place as a variety of importance. You might not like it, but it is important at least to know why. Alternatively, this could very well just be the wine that you have been looking for...
Maison Trimbach is one of the most genuinely interesting and remarkable winery stories that you'll come across in France. Or Europe for that matter. Or the world, really. They have been at the forefront of high-quality wine-making in France for 13 generations, since at least the foundation of the house in 1626. Think about that: Bach hadn't been born; Mozart's grandparents weren't born. 1626 was the year that the Renaissance-Tudor English composer John Dowland (not a cheery chap) died.
It's 85 years before the establishment of the first of the demarcated places of origin for wine growing and production in Europe - Chianti, Carmignano, Valdarno di Sopra and Pomino. In a similarly barely-credible incredible survival story to that of Ricasoli in Tuscany, the Trimbach family still do what they did all those years ago. It's more successful than a Royal family...
They are based in the town of Ribeauvillé and this is important because of the town's situation and relationship to the vineyard area that surrounds it. In the four hundred odd years that have followed, they have grown a bit and now farmland in six different villages, which means that they have the ability to blend and maintain a house style with greater ease and consistency than otherwise would allow. It also means that they are able to produce higher volumes of the top single vineyard wines as the grapes from these places don't need to be shared around to beef-up other cuvées.
It's a clever plan but they still only own about 40 hectares in total, which is really quite meagre compared with other regions... but they are in long-term relationships with many other growers who, as they say, are "loyal to the Trimbach cause". The soils in the region vary, as you might expect over six villages, but are a mixture of limestone, sandstone and marl, which give enough drainage and support to the needs of the vines.
The next important feature is the presence of the Vosges mountains to the West. These act as a rain barrier - remember how far north Alsace really is and it's pretty astonishing to realise that it is the second driest wine region in France. Clouds move east across the French landscapes but break over the top of the mountains, leaving the vineyards in Alsace to be perfectly dry for much of the year.
Trimbach make one decision that is really very much a winery one rather than a vineyard one, and that is to bottle their wines in the spring following the harvest - uniformly. Very best Grand Cru single vineyard wines, to the regional town blends. All treated the same.
This certainly retains freshness, but it also prevents further aging impact from oak barrels or from grape skin contact. It's a very considered move and the fact that the wines are so varied and stunningly good year after year, shows just how right they get the decision and just how high the quality of the vineyards really is.