It was patently obvious to me that after my 'gewurztraminer week', that a gewurztraminer was going to be a Wine of the Week. But which one when there were so many good ones to choose from? The initial tasting revealed some beauties, but when the labels were revealed my tasting coordinator had omitted two benchmark wines – Johanneshof and Dry River. So the two were inserted into a taste-off flight with the top wines from the initial tasting, a bit like a 'trophy' taste off in a wine show, and the one that came out top was one of the benchmarks. I was not surprised when the label was revealed to be Johanneshof Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2009. This is a label that I have always held in the greatest gewurztraminer esteem.
The Johanneshof, and the top wine from the initial tasting, Pegasus Bay Gewurztraminer 2009, were similar. Powerful wines, off dry, everything you want in gewurztraminer and more, but it was the Johanneshof had had the slight edge every which way. The Pegasus Bay turned its toes up in the 'chilled' rematch and when it came to the food matching, the Pegasus Bay screwed its nose up several times. But no matter what I threw at the Johanneshof, it embraced it. It took it to its heart and my heart too.
Johanneshof Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2009 has become even more ethereal since my last tasting almost a year ago. It has the beautiful perfume of the Cecile Brunner (sweetheart) rose, and the infusion of Moroccan spices (coriander, cumin, cardamon, cinnamon, ginger) to balance the gentle honeyed sweetness, and orange water, rose musk and violets. Texturally sublime – smooth, silky, perfect. It has a respectable 13% alcohol and is closed with a Diam cork.
Johanneshof Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2009 has an illustrious show record - four gold medals and two trophies from the major New Zealand shows. But it carries on from a show performance to a real live consumer performance where the snapshot turns into a movie and the excellence goes on and on.
Match this wine to slow cooked pork with coriander and orange, Moroccan chicken, Roast chicken with roast carrots and roast kumara and Asian flavours of your favourite persuasion.
This wine was $30 on release but sadly it is probably unavailable now. But you never know! Check out the Johanneshof website – www.johanneshof.co.nz. They currently have the 2010 available, and that's also a stunner with as just an impressive show record.
© Sue Courtney
14 Jun 2011