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Wine of the Week

By Dave Buchanan

It's really three Wines of the Week, and all the same grape.

Parker Carlson of Carlson Vineyards has taken a bit of a gamble this year, though that's nothing new for someone often considered the reigning dean of Colorado winemaking.

Like every other winery facing a change in its winemaking due to a shortage of some grape varietals after several serious frosts in the last 12 months, Carlson this year is offering a trilogy of gewurtztraminers, one of the few grape varietals that dodged the frosty bullet.

Maybe you don't know much about gewurtztraminer, including how to pronounce it.

Say gee (hard g)-verts-trameener. Very good. Now drink it, and you'll immediately taste the honey, spice (gewurtz in German roughly translates to spicy), floral and pear notes that makes this white wine so popular.

The wine originates from the village of Tramin area in the Alto Adige region of northern Italy although now it's made in France, New York, California (sigh, what isn't?) and elsewhere.

The wine is great with spicy and hot foods - think Thai, Asian, and even Mexican.

Parker's three gewurtzes (if that's a word) run the gamut from a dessert-style sweet wine (8.5 percent residual sugar) to a semi-sweet (about 2.5 percent RS, similar in sweetness to the rieslings of the area) and this years' baby, a new dry gewurtztraminer, with around 1.5 percent RS.

You rarely or never will taste a wine with less than 1 percent RS. Residual sugar tells you how sweet a wine is going to be before you taste it, and most people can't taste any less than 1 percent RS. Also, residual sugar (the sugar left in the wine after fermentation stops) is needed to balance the acidity of the wine and vice versa.

Any wine fermented completely dry (I mean, no RS at all) is too acidic to drink and most people would not find it a pleasant experience.

Anyway, Parker's dry gewurtztraminer was, as mentioned, a bit of a gamble dreamt up and manifested by Ian MacDonald, cellarmaster at Carlson Vineyards. A gamble because the most common question you'll hear in a tasting room is, "What do you have that's sweet?"

However, this gamble has paid off. Apparently the wine has proven so popular Carlson is down to his last pallet (50 cases or so) of dry gewurtztraminer, which means it probably will sell out this summer.

Great for him, bummer for you if you miss it.

The dry gewurtz has a wonderfully tight nose of roses, violets and pumpkin spice with crisp acidity and just enough RS to give you the fruit, roses and lychee typical of thie varietal. Serve it chilled on the deck with good friends.

The three wines are all priced at $12.49 at the tasting room on 35 Road.


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