Montinore Estate Gewürztraminer 2011
Wine: Montinore Estate
Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon
I first discovered Montinore Estate Gewürztraminer this past winter at an Oregon wine event in Birmingham, Alabama. The event is an annual collaboration between distributors in the state to show their Oregon selections, accompanied by winemakers and winery representatives, and titled "Pinot Camp," a nod to the Oregon wine industry's summer jubilee that educates and entertains wine trade professionals. I've experienced that party, but even then somehow missed these gorgeous pinot noirs and, especially, this beauty of German lineage: the gewürtztraminer.
Actually, what I tasted in February was the 2012. I believe the 2013 has been released, but I wound up with a bottle of the 2011 last week and was again impressed by the nuance of the wine. Gewürztraminers are among the most obviously perfumed varieties, with loud flavors and aromas of ripe lychee and tropical fruits, making them particularly easy to identify blind, and often followed by a round, opulent body. Most often we see gewürtz wines from Alsace, France, where generations of winegrowers have perfected the art of raising complex, age-worthy cuvées. Typical food pairing recommendations point toward Asian cuisine with a little heat and ginger; big flavors all around. To quote The Oxford Companion to Wine, "Gewürtztraminer's faults are only in having too much of everything."
The other great pairing to gewürtz is rich, creamy cheese. I devoured a round of Bonne Bouche ash-ripened goat cheese and a few slices of prosciutto with this bottle. I was in heaven.
The Montinore vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic and their winemaking is light-handed. Proprietor Rudi Marchesi grows the grapes while his daughter Kristin presides over operations. Two winemakers, Stephen Webber and Ben Thomas, bring it all to fruition. Winery representative Tom Champine took me through the line-up in Birmingham and introduced me to some of my favorite new Oregon wines, for which I am grateful.
Subtle lychee and melon fruits with floral hints on the nose, followed by great acidity and refined fruit - a shy Hugel - in perfect balance with a long, beautiful finish.