Finding the Marks

Pierre Sparr Alsatian Gewurz“Don’t use ‘apple’ or ‘white flower’ as a descriptor for a white wine,” a friend told me at a recent wine tasting.

“But, I always get ‘apple’ and ‘white flower’ in a white wine,” I responded, inadvertently answering my own unasked question.

“That is exactly why you shouldn’t use them as descriptors. They describe almost every white wine and don’t tell you anything about the grape. Be more specific. Is it a red, green or yellow apple? Is it an orange blossom or a gardenia?”

There is an apple tree in my yard. By mid-October, the apples that have dropped from it are on the very far side of ripe, not overly so, but just acetic enough. That deep, ripe, slightly tart smell that comes just before decay is an aroma I will always associate with the marrow of fall, the depth, the middle, the point at which the days are as chilly as the sun is bright.

The marks for an Alsatian Gewurztraminer, the aromas that distinguish it from other white wines are ginger and honeysuckle. I always do get those strong floral and spice aromas from the Alsatian Gewurztraminer. But the tell for me is the scent of a mid-fall apple that has ripened as far as it can ripen to an unmistakable tangy richness. Nobody reading my tasting sheet will know what ‘mid-October apple on the precipice of decay’ means. But I will know that it means Alsatian Gewurz.

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8 comments on “Finding the Marks

  1. And I have never heard anyone describe wine that way but it is rather lovely! I must practice better descriptions!

  2. Dana says:

    Sounds fabulous! And now I will forever want Gewurztraminer in the Fall!

  3. Whenever i smell Gewurz, pad thai always comes to mind. Maybe because i cant have one without the other.

  4. SAHMmelier says:

    Beautiful description!

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