Sean Sullivan's Wine of the Week: Dowsett Family Gewürztraminer
A difficult to pronounce grape variety with an unforgettable mnemonic
Every week the founder of Washington Wine Report, Wine Enthusiast contributing editor, and Seattle Met's house wine guru recommends a (typically) budget-friendly Northwest wine.
What: Dowsett Family Gewürztraminer Celilo Vineyard Columbia Gorge 2012 $22
Where: Pike and Western, McCarthy and Schiering, Esquin
Why: Despite being Washington’s fifth most-produced white grape variety, gewürztraminer—memorably pronounced like ‘girlsaremeaner’—seems like a bit of a forgotten variety in the state, trapped behind the likes of chardonnay, riesling, pinot gris, and sauvignon blanc.
Not so for Dowsett Family Winery, however, which puts a particular focus on the grape. Winemaker Chris Dowsett, who also serves as winemaker at Walla Walla’s Buty Winery, made his first gewürztraminer with his father in 1983 when he was a junior in high school. He’s had a fondness for the grape that borders on fanaticism ever since.
“It works so well with foods that sometimes are difficult to match with wine,” Dowsett says. “Try it with spicy Thai or Mexican, salty foods like ham or other cured meats, or seafood like scallops or clams.”
Fruit for Dowsett’s wine comes from 30-year-old vines at Celilo Vineyard in the picturesque Columbia Gorge. Part of gewürz’s appeal is its intense aromas and flavors, and we see that here with notes of white flowers, spice, and lychee. And whereas many wineries in the state produce off-dry to sweet bottlings, the Dowsett gewürztraminer drinks dry.