2011 Boat O'Craigo Black Spur Gewürztraminer

The history of the Gewürztraminer variety is in a word, complicated. There are many synonyms recorded including Traminer, a white grape family subjected to clonal mutations since the Romans brought an ancient Greek vine to the Alto Adige region in Italy's north and specifically to around the village of Tramin (Termeno) where it is thought the name originated. It appears that Traminer vines were planted in these Tyrolean foothills at the time Leif (Erik The Red) Ericson set foot on Vinland, the Norse name for an area of the North America continent where wild grape vines were indeed discovered.  

As with other varieties Traminer evolved on its genetic and geographical journeys into an aromatic variety. North to Germany's Pfalz region by the Middle Ages, it acquired the prefixes Gewürz, meaning 'spiced' or Roter meaning 'red/crimson' a reference to the colour. By the late 1800's vines were imported from across the Rhine to Alsace where today, the best examples of its wines are generally produced. The French have used the term musque whilst the Italians aromatico to describe the grape's metamorphosis, a situation that is given further intrigue with the belief of a relationshop between the various Traminers and the white Savagnin grape from the French Jura Region.  

The Traminer synonym has been used interchangeably in Australia depending upon growing region and/or winemaker preferences but unfortunately has suffered from public perception that it makes a sweet wine style. Often blended with Riesling, the variety is grown in all of Australia's states but is still generally considered an alternative variety. 

A boutique wine producer from the Yarra Valley, Boat O'Craigo takes it name from an ancestral settlement alongside the North Esk River in Craigo, Scotland. The Gewürztraminer vines as with the winery's other whites are grown at the Black Spur vineyard at Healesville in the Valley's higher and cooler north-eastern region. The variety is a rare beast in these parts known more for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines. This vintage is the winery's third release after vines were first planted in 2006.

Gewürztraminer Grapes

A pale quartz-green in the glass, the aromatics are more of a fruit shop than a perfumed boudoir. It smells of ginger, jasmine, lychee and fresh citrus. A slight scent of musk. The light to medium palate lacks that pungency and power, that varietal character of perfumed rose petals, musk,Turkish Delight and lychees Gewürztraminer is known for. There are some stone fruit flavours, lime and spicy lychee notes and a talc-like minerality to the texture but not much more. Crisp, fresh and balanced. It could have been a Riesling in a blind tasting. Appealing and drinkable but somewhat disappointing overall.   

Source: Winery Purchase. Alcohol: 11.5%. Closure: Screwcap. Rating: 87 Points.
Website: http://www.boatocraigo.com.au/

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