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Sunday, 26 April 2020

Gewürztraminer vs Riesling

An MW-study lesson in blind tasting with a Gewürztraminer from Cambridge Wine and a Riesling blend from Lidl 

Gewürztraminer and Riesling are both somewhat geeky wines and, in this country at least, a bit of a niche interest.

Both have a spiritual home in Germany, as well as Alsace (which is either a bit Germanic or an actual part of Germany, depending on which period of history you consider).

In the glass however, they are very different grapes; Gewürztraminer is typically rich and perfumed ("lychees and roses" is the standard descriptor) whereas Riesling is higher in acidity, lower in alcohol and develops a "dieselly" nose with age.

Gewürztraminer's key non-flavour characteristic is a fuller body with a waxy-oily exture, whilst Riesling's is a precise linearity to its acidic structure.

Of the two varieties, Riesling is probably the easier to find in the UK; the Riesling blend was selected by MW Richard Bampfield for Lidl.

Gewurztraminer Réserve, 2018, Cave Hunawihr (£14, Cambridge Wine Merchants) sweet spices, ripe yellow stone fruits, pineapple and passionfruit; supple and full with a rich, waxy-oily texture balanced by gentle acidity; off-dry with some residual sugar but finishes dry.


Match with rich Alsatian dishes, such as tarte flambee or liver pate.

Riesling Scheurebe Halbtrocken, Rheinhessen, 2018 (£5.99, Lidl)  citrussy and fresh with floral aromatics, yellow stone fruit, minerality and some herbaceous blackurrant leaf. Supremely elegant and well-balanced; finishes dry.


Drink as an aperitif or a garden sipper.

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