2010 Found Object Gewurztraminer

This one comes courtesy Castoro Cellars who have long been providing quality wines to the Trader Joes’s shelves but always been short on sharing information from whence they came. That said if I thought the Hungry Hollow Gewurztraminer was a deal at $10 this one is certainly worthy of your consideration at half the price. Expect to see this near the top of my next Trader Joe’s Wines Top 10 Wine List (which I intend to publish this Thursday)…

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2010 Found Object GewurztraminerPer the bottle “Context, it can change everything. Consider, for a moment, a wine among a crowd – yet not if the crowd. What could be taken for granted (grape juice) becomes special when repurposed into something thought provoking.

Consider this Gewürztraminer worthy of your consideration”

What I Think:

(13.3%) Almost clear straw in color, big forward, fruity nose. Peaches, lychee, a bit sweet on the backbone making it off dry with a floral, white pepper spiced finish. Simple, clean and straightforward. No flaws to report and varietally correct to boot. This is certainly a wine I want to have around my house. If you are a fan of Gewurzt this one is worth stocking up on. If not certainly consider giving it a try.

Wine Geek Notes: Surprisingly $2 less than the Viognier (yet to try) from the same label.

Rating: Buy It

2010 Hungry Hollow Gewurztraminer

If you missed the upfront on Hungry Hollow Wines from my last post let’s cut to the skinny. Hungry Hollow is a new label from Navarro Vineyards and is billed as a new line of “local wines at prices every thrifty and hard-working man or woman can afford.” You can try their first three offerings; this Gewurztraminer, the Riesling and the Syrah, for $30 plus one cent shipping. If you are a fan of wine I recommend you click on thru and order this now but if you need further proof to inspire you read on…

Price: $9.99 @ Navarro Vineyards

What They Said:

2010 Hungry Hollow GewurztraminerPer Navarro Vineyards “Gewürztraminer is Anderson Valley’s most respected grape for white wine; the fruit for this bottling was grown by Navarro Vineyards and neighboring Valley Foothills Vineyard. We blended modern technology with ancient winemaking: the wine was fermented and aged in seasoned oak ovals which have been fitted with modern stainless steel cooling panels inside the casks so that the winemaker can control fermentation temperatures. After fermentation, we adhered to traditional practices by allowing the wine to rest for seven months on the yeast that was generated by the fermentation. Gewürztraminer’s signature aromas and flavors are of lychee, grapefruit, ginger and cardamom which are enhanced with hints of bread pudding and toast. A full, spicy wine that particularly complements piquant foods: Indian curries, Asian spicy sesame noodles, carnitas with green salsa or blackened rock fish.”

What I Think:

(13%) Crisp, floral nose with tropical fruits. Lush and full on the palate with lychee and peach flavors. From there a spiced acidity drives through a touch sweet, a touch bright but still crisp finish. A wine I could drink regularly. Given the difficulty of finding an enjoyable sub $10 Gewurzt I’m tempted to stock up. If you are a fan of this varietal I would do so.

Wine Geek Notes: 797 Alcohol cases made; Total Acidity: 7.2 g/L pH Level: 3.37; Residual Sugars: 0.5%

Rating: Buy It

2006 Rare Find Clarksburg Gewurztraminer

Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

These next few I am going to post are some stubborn ones that I have been digging around on the internet for to no avail for days. It looks like I am on my own here….

What I Think:

This is a Gewurztraminer from Clarksburg which I always thought was an area somewhere around Napa and/or Sonoma. It turns out it is in Yolo County on the California Delta about fifteen miles south of Sacramento. This wine is most certainly a private label offering with the vinter being “Rare Find Wine Purveyors”. As mentioned before rare find summarizes what I was able to find in regards to them on the internet, guessing they don’t really want to be found.

Now for the wine itself…Not much on the nose this wine appears to be rather clean. On the palate it starts rather plain before a whole lot of sweetness kicks in. You get some hints of fruits as it progresses, maybe some apples amongst others. All in all the sweetness takes its toll on me, the Michel Leon is an easy choice over this one. If you are going to give it a go make sure you have some super spicy food to pair it with.

Rating: Skip It

2006 Michel Leon Gewurztraminer

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Plume Ridge Wine Negotiants

What They Said:

Per Hawks Head Wines “The Laugel family have been producing wine here since 1889 when Alsace was part of Germany. With classic rose petal and lychee aromas this elegant white has good varietal character and lovely complexity. Grapefruit and citrus notes keep it refreshing and the finish is long and balanced with good integrated acidity. This is a lovely example of this Alsace speciality, drinking well now but will keep to 2009. (Drink now to 2011)”

What I Think:

Another Gewurztraminer from the Alsace. As you can see from my write up on the Marcel Hugg. This was even before my recent return visit to Fleur de Lys where I had the Trimbach once again. Amazingly enough, they have this same Trimbach at Trader Joe’s. If you feel like dropping a $20 spot on that one stop reading here.

Now back to this wine. Hard to find a write up here, awfully common for wines for Trader Joe’s wines I find. I was able to track down something from a UK retailer selling this at £8 (about $16) which makes this one at $7 seem quite the steal already. On the nose you get light floral and citrus notes. On the palate the profile is almost custard like and at first I thought it was sweet. Later I realized it was more from a texture perspective than on the palate. The fruit, mostly lemon, faded quickly and led to a nice tight mineral finish. We had this as an aperitif before dinner with cheese and it worked perfectly. Not as good as the Marcel Hugg but good enough to buy until I find something better.

Rating: Buy It

2006 Columbia Crest Two Vines Gewurztraminer

Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the winery “This fruit-forward wine accents classic Gewürztraminer characteristics of lychee, dried apricots and hints of rose petal. Subtle spicy-sweet fruit flavors linger through a refreshing, juicy finish” – Best Buys: Whites, Excellent – Wine Press NW

What I Think:

So there I am standing in the wine section at Trader Joe’s.  It’s busy. My wife is in the checkout line, getting closer to the front. And I can’t decide whether to grab the JW Morris , the Santa Ynez or this. With time running out I decided to try something new.

The other night with curry on the menu I decided it was time to see what this one was all about. On the nose you get wafts of sweetness along with dried floral and fruit aromas. These flavors follow through on the palate but I found the sweetness a little overpowering. The next night I had it as an aperitif with some cheese which seemed to better suit this bottle. For those newer to this varietal this may be a nice introduction. As I prefer a drier style I wish I would have grabbed the Santa Ynez.

Rating: 12th Bottle

2006 JW Morris Gewurztraminer

Price: $2.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per Wine Cask In regards to the 2003 “This conglomeration of scrounged California grapes has a nice light golden color with a typical Gewruz bouquet of peaches, apricots and pineapples and a hint of vanilla. In the mouth it is sweet, a little too much, but there’s enough acid to pull it off without it being cloying. Now here’s the gig—if you put a good solid chill on this wine, it is drinkable and nearly enjoyable even to schooled palate such as mine. It is not a great wine, and there’s maybe an off flavor or two but they are subtle, probably undetectable to the normal palate and for the $2.99 anything that is palatable has you ahead of the game.”

What I Think:

With two different write ups for this wine this was an interesting exercise to see where this wine landed. While it didn’t quite meet the pleasant surprise of my first experience it proved more pleasant than my ill advised second experience. As mentioned then, a $3 wine after a day of tasting is bound to suffer from skepticism. Given this bottle landed in the middle I have added more to the rack and promoted it to “Buy It”. For $2.99 it is hard to go wrong!

Rating: Buy It

2005 Ventana Vineyards Arroyo Seco Gewurztraminer

Price: $16.00 @ Friend/Gift

What They Said:

Per the winery “Ventana models its Gewurztraminer in the off-dry Alsacian Style. With flavor characteristics of litchis, orange blossoms, cinnamon and nutmeg spice, it exudes a lively bouquet. The wine is medium bodied with a lingering crisp spice finish. The off-dry style matches beautifully with food. Try Gewurztraminer with mild creamy cheeses, spicy Asian cuisine, pork dishes and poultry, especially turkey.”

What I Think:

Following the winery link you learn that “Gewurtz” in German means “spiced”. “Ventana” is Spanish and means “Window”. You sure are learning a lot here. I had a friend bring this over when he stopped over to say hi. Good friend to have. If you are coming over for dinner maybe I expect something. Coming over to say hi, now that is going above and beyond.

My notes are sparse. but I would call this a typical gewurzt. Some floral undertones on the note with the terroir expressing minerals on top of citrus fruit. This wine is on the fuller side for a white and is not made in the old world drier style. While clearly a class or two above the JW Morris I wonder how it would compare to the Santa Ynez Valley Winery Gewurztraminer which I still have a bottle of left here. Guessing I’ll never know but it could be compelling in my quest for value. Speaking of value, this wine does not scream it but you will at a minimum get what you paid for. That said, should the opportunity present itself give it a try I recommend it.

Rating: Pricey

2005 Marcel Hugg Gewurztraminer

Price: $7.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Americal Beverage Group

What They Said:

Per the winery …well their website has yet to be updated with any details and google wasn’t showing me anything new, so it appears you still have to trust me on this one…

What I Think:

I have been enjoying these wines from Marcel Hugg over the last month or two. As I mentioned sometime back all things Alsace bring back fond memories and these wines have done nothing to alter that notion.

As usual I started this one off a bit over chilled. Even still it had the perfect Gewurzt nose with aromas of flowers, minerals and white fruit all commingling to form a pleasant bouquet. When cooled to room temperature, perfect smells of citrus rinds on the nose. A hearty texture coats the mouth. Floral flavors but can’t get more specific, at times I find myself thinking of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Having the Kono handy I do a comparison and those thoughts quickly disappear. Finishes with a touch of sweetness on the mid-palate before rounding into a nice, rich dry finish that seems familiar, nice… Not quite as minerally as I remember it but certainly a perfect match for the spice of the Thai meal that it was paired with.

If you only have budget for one get the Pinot Blanc. Better yet, skip lunch today and get both. You won’t be disappointed.

Rating: Buy It

2006 JW Morris Gewurztraminer

Price: $2.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per Wine Cask In regards to the 2003 “This conglomeration of scrounged California grapes has a nice light golden color with a typical Gewruz bouquet of peaches, apricots and pineapples and a hint of vanilla. In the mouth it is sweet, a little too much, but there’s enough acid to pull it off without it being cloying. Now here’s the gig—if you put a good solid chill on this wine, it is drinkable and nearly enjoyable even to schooled palate such as mine. It is not a great wine, and there’s maybe an off flavor or two but they are subtle, probably undetectable to the normal palate and for the $2.99 anything that is palatable has you ahead of the game.”

What I Think:

This is a bottle of Gewurztraminer I had a while back that seemed like it was easy to approach. That said it seemed to fit my father’s wife’s palate perfectly. She definitely prefers whites though she is starting to take to reds. She also likes those that are a bit on the fruitier and sweeter side without any dryness to them. She had mentioned earlier in the trip that she has a hard time finding wines that she likes under the $15 price point. Being the intrepid bargain hunter that I am I was bound and determined to show her that there was plenty of options available for the budget shopper. With that in mind I headed down to TJ’s and grabbed a few bottles of this thinking I could send one home with her. That night I made some backed enchiladas and put this wine down on the table ready to see her reaction. At this point she was still unaware of the price tag. It wasn’t the home run I thought it would be but she did enjoy it. I later realized that after a day of tasting high quality wines in Dry Creek this may not have been the most opportune time to try and make a lasting impression with this bottle. From my notes this came across as more manufactured this time, again after tasting I should have known better. The nose was full of citrus with barrel undertones lingering in the depths. In the mouth it starts almost racy with tart lemon rind followed by floral favors in the mid-palate before syrupy notes take over for the finish. I just noticed last time I had promised a blind tasting with thoughts of rating this higher. Given that I have another bottle left I think I will do that but for the time being this one has sunk a bit in my book as I was not nearly as impressed as I previously had been. Perhaps with a normalized palate next time I’ll be reminded of what it was that made me think that I might have been underestimating this wine. Until then I am going to knock it down a notch. Stay tuned.

Rating: Skip It

2005 Marcel Hugg Gewurztraminer

Price: $7.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Americal Beverage Group

What They Said:

Per the winery well nothing, but I did find their website. Think it may be new as I didn’t find this last time.

What I Think:

The second half of my Alsatian bargain pair and another winner. Flowers (I am terrible at identifying which ones) and some light fruit on the nose. In the mouth a nice dry style with a minerally backbone. A very nice wine and a perfect example of an Alsatian effort. Usually I try to pair this with Asian cuisine but this would go with nearly anything. This is a region I need to learn more about. Would love to do a side by side with this and the Santa Ynez I enjoyed so much. Maybe I will…

Rating: Buy it