I met a friend outside Harvest Moon Winery a few weeks ago, and he gave me a bottle of 2009 AlexEli Gewurtzraminer to try. Bottle says Willamette Valley, 13% abv. No other information about the wine on the bottle.
Decided to open it tonight after struggling with upgrading Windows 8 to Windows 7 on a work computer - and an hour+ after finishing off the remnants of a Twisted Oak 2007 PS for happy hour. My teeth were no longer stained purple for this tasting.
Before I go into the wine, you may want to know where I'm coming from - Ontario. I tasted and enjoyed many a Gewurtztraminer there before making the move to California, but I've never found a bottle that stands up to those taste memories - spice, lychee, bone dry, intense, floral. This one is among the closer attempts.
First impressions, right out of the fridge, having just ceremoniously unscrewed the cap. The colour is pale but clearly straw yellow. Nose initially smells slightly Riesling-ish, but with a little something else that clearly distinguishes it. Eventually I decide I need to decide on what to call it, so I settle on cantaloupe and lychee. Not much spice. My first sip I was slightly saddened that the bracing acidity I so love in Alsatian whites was not there, even if the acid was perfectly adequate. There's definitely a hint of something sweet, but it's so close to perceptible that I'm not sure whether it's RS or the tropical fruit centre of the wine. There's also the slightest hint of effervescence - not enough to truly be bubbly but enough to make it interesting. The finish was relatively long and reminiscent of straw.
Second glass after being in the fridge for a while again. I found the aromas and palate both to be more lemony and mineraly. The perception of acidity has picked up to the point where the 1.5% RS (I looked it up) fooled me into thinking it was actually the lychee overtones. Quite surprising for something with this much sugar, actually.
As the night goes on, I've still got some in front of me. At this point (3 hours or so post-opening, in the fridge the whole time) the nose has shut down almost completely and the flavours have toned down as well. I'm perceiving more pineapple and less lychee but the sugar is also less obvious. If the nose hadn't gone away I'm actually liking this more. It's also picked up some of the spice character from which the grape gets its name.
So I'm not sure what to make of this one. Either it's a pop and quickly serve sort of wine, which is quite enjoyable. Or it is one of those relatively rare whites that actually needs air to evolve.
I was actually expecting to see this tomorrow night, so I may go back and retaste for more notes.
I stopped counting bottles. My CT