One of the first milestones in wine education is arguably learning to pronounce (and spell) "gewürztraminer." (For the record, it’s guh-VERTS-tra-meener.) Celebrate this achievement by enjoying a glass with Thai food. What makes the two work together? April Pogue, manager and wine director of Wild Ginger in Bellevue, Wash., has the answers. Pogue presides over an impressive wine list at a restaurant that serves southeast Asian inspired cuisine that (of course) has Thai influences.
"Gewürztraminer is a naturally aromatic grape that has tropical aromas and flavors such as lychee, mango, and sweet gardenia," Pogue explains. "These flavors and smells match with a wide variety of Asian dishes from around the world. The grape is also somewhat low in acidity aiding its ability to pair well with spicy dishes. Gewürztraminer is aromatic and fruit-forward, which appeals to the aromas of the food. Generally they are light in style with balanced acidity. This can go nicely with saltier dishes."
If she had a bottle of gewürztraminer in her fridge, what takeout Thai dish would Pogue bring home for a perfect pairing? "At Jamjuree Thai [on Seattle’s Capitol Hill] they have a sweet and sour tamarind chile dish that would sing circles around gewürztraminer. It comes with onion, bell peppers, cashews, and chicken tossed with the spicy yet sweet, exotic tamarind sauce."
And while gewürztraminer is most famous in Alsace, you can also explore domestic versions from Washington, Oregon, California, and New York.