Neethlingshof Gewurztraminer 2007

Matching food and wine can be tricky at the best of times, but what
Posted 20th September 2010        

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Matching food and wine can be tricky at the best of times, but what do you do when confronted with a curry, a chinese or cuisine from that part of the world?

The flip side of people’s palates becoming more adventurous is that it makes it harder to decide on what wine will complement the range of exotic flavours and different textures that these kinds of dishes offer up.

For those with little imagination or knowledge lager seems to be the drink of choice for a curry especially (particularly a hot and spicy one) but with Thai, Chinese and other types of Asian cuisine its a bit more difficult. Similar to lager, something cold and refreshing is needed but also with the required exoticness and spice to stand up to and complement the range of flavours offered up by a Thai green curry or Beef Rendang. Its also nice to drink something a bit acidic to cut clean through the remnants of the myriad of flavours left behind in the mouth and cleanse the palate a touch. This Gewurztraminer from Neethlingshof does the job nicely.

The Gewurztraminer grape has an interesting history and is believed to be a genetic mutation of the Traminer grape that originates in the Alto Aldige/South Tyrol are of the Alps. The grape prefers cooler climates and often does well at altitude in mountainous areas or where the topography is cooled by sea breezes. Although its origins lie in the heart of Europe it has been successfully grown in areas of the New World, including South Africa. Bearing in mind its origins, it seems strange that it complements exotic food so well.

Neethlingshof is one of South Africa’s oldest and more famous wine estates. Established in 1705, it is probably more famous for its avenue of stone pines – a feature on all its labels. It is an estate that has won lots of awards both in South Africa and abroad and one that I have personally visited a number of times. It possesses high-lying vineyards at around 300m above sea level which are perfect for this grape variety. The vines are trellised and are south-facing which decelerates growth to concentrate flavours. The grapes are then hand-harvested and fermented in stainless steel tanks using yeasts for fermentation.

To the eye the wine is a bright straw colour with flashes of green and is much deeper in colour than a Sauvignon Blanc. It actually looks more like a heavily oaked and aged chardonnay but on the nose it has some Turkish delight spice mixed in with a bit of jasmine, rose petal and honeysuckle. On the palate it is off-dry and spicy – a cooler, lighter and whiter version of mulled wine maybe – with just enough hints of exoticness to keep you interested.

It is best served chilled to about 6 degrees Celsius and is great with not only Thai and Chinese but goes well with Mexican food, especially chicken.

Available at time of publication from www.corkerswineclub.com

Marks out of 100 – 90.


One Response to “Neethlingshof Gewurztraminer 2007”

  1. Recently bought a case of this wine on your recommendation. Am trying to wean myself off Sauv Blancs from NZ (see Dog Point review) and this was a good start. Perfect with Thai curry, as Donald suggests.

Meet the Author:
Donald lives in Tadworth, Surrey and is originally from Durban in South Africa. He developed an appreciation for wine at a relatively young age mainly in thanks to his francophile mother who served it (just one glass mind!) with food around the dining table and taught him to appreciate, enjoy and acknowledge its ability to complement and even enhance good food. This appreciation grew stronger in his early twenties when he met like-minded buyers and drinkers of wine while working behind a bar as a student and also realised that a good bottle of cabernet sauvignon was a better pairing with barbecued red meat than any beer could ever be. Now all he pretty much drinks is wine – of all colours and styles – and enjoys collecting wines he likes to drink. Favourites include (but are not restricted to!) New World Pinot Noirs, most red Rhone varietals, the deeply dark and tannic wines from South-West France, big, creamy, oaked and over-the-top Chardonnays and the sweet white wines of Monbazillac and Sauternes. Donald prides himself on a relatively in-depth knowledge of the South African wine industry. He has visited many of the top wine estates in the Cape and will gladly try and convert the most sceptic, ignorant and staunchest critics of SA wine. If he won the lottery Donald freely admits he would buy a wine estate somewhere in the world and grow old in no great rush while getting his feet wet with grape juice.