Good Gewürz!

Is there any wine more flat-out liked than quirky, sprightly Gewürztraminer? Wine newbies like it for its sweet, friendly, outgoing aspects (its typical scents are lychee fruits and tea roses). Food snobs like it for its ability to work with difficult cuisines, like Thai or Asian-Fusion. And wine snobs like it for the heights it can achieve: It can taste like something played swiftly on the highest notes of a harp. Gewürztraminer is also a perfect springtime wine. It’s brilliant when paired with a honey-glazed Easter ham, it shines at a Mother’s Day brunch, and it’s a joy with fruit and cheese, perhaps enjoyed on the deck as you watch the first fledgling chicks of the season learn to fly.
 
 

Snoqualmie, Gewürztraminer, Columbia Valley, 2009

Made from organically grown grapes, this “naked” wine (neither dressed with oak flavors nor robed in pesticides) is a holy-grail wine: great at a table with serious food, like your best apricot-glazed pork roast, yet equally superb with Thai leftovers on the couch. Available: MGM Liquors, including Calhoun Village ($11)

Chateau Ste. Michelle, Gewürtztraminer, Columbia Valley, 2009

Well-tailored and showing distinct French flair, this Gewürz is ornately fragrant due to a bit of Muscat. It’s a perfect pick for garden parties because it works as a cocktail. Available: At most Lunds and Byerly’s liquor stores, including Chanhassen ($11)

Banyan, Gewürztraminer, Monterey County 2009

A racy option from a pair of Thai American winemakers who craft high-acid whites specifically for Asian cuisines. Try it with a rich coconut curry or thom-yum soup to discover how the right wine gives Asian food frame and depth. Available: Surdyk’s, 303 E. Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-379-3232, surdyks.com ($13)

Martin Schaetzel, Gewürztraminer Alsace Cuvée Réserve 2006

A biodynamic Alsatian option with characteristic nerve and electric acidity. Think of it like a fencer zipping his foil through the air—flickety-flick—and then, from the other hand, producing a bouquet of roses and pear blossoms. Available: Both Tournament Liquors, 10901 Baltimore St., Blaine, 763-786-4992; 1434 147th Ave. NE, Ham Lake, 763-434-9224; tournamentliquor.com ($19)

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