“There is truth in wine, but you never see it listed in the ingredients on the label” – Josh Stern.

As the sun has come out and because I’m feeling whimsical, I thought we could take a look at a grape variety that most of us avoid like a rabid dog – the muscle man of the white wine world and the one with the name we can’t pronounce, Gewurztraminer. (I just call it “guv-urts” and it’s never raised any eyebrows, although that might be because the wine merchants are just delighted to shift some!)

Its origins are a bit mixed up although it seems to be the love-child of several grapes involved in some historic menage a trois centuries ago and it’s obviously taken the best bits from all the parents. The first time I tried one, I was bowled over by the strength and quality of the aroma but that was nothing compared to the surprise I got when it hit my palate. I called it the muscle man of the white wine world for good reason because the flavours burst into life like a pack of over-tanned and waxed bodybuilders when they see a mirror. Lychees, peaches, pears and crisp refreshing acidity made it a memorable experience, and although I’ve had one or two dogs over the years, most of those have been under a tenner to be fair.

While it’s mainly associated with the cooler regions of northern France, it’s finding its way all over the globe now, with some crackers coming out of South America and Australia in particular. The Canadians are also knocking out a few interesting versions right now but most are only available over there so feel free to post one back to me if you spot a good one on holiday.

One of the strengths of the variety for me is its sheer flexibility as it pairs well with a wide range of food styles but it can also be enjoyed as a cracking aperitif when chilled to the bone on a summer’s day. People often ask what to drink with Indian or really spicy foods and I always used to say lager, but seriously, folks, this is the grape to go for because it punches flavour for flavour with the strongest vindaloo and its better than a half pound of breath mints afterwards. So if the plan is Indian food, alcohol and love, look no further!

Anyway, it’s hot outside and I’m napalming some chicken to go with my crisp glass of Guv-Urts so pip pip for another week.


  • Gee Whiz Tram Driver, Australia: I think this started life as a daft idea by some winemakers in a bar but it’s worked out really well. Apparently it’s the Aussie slang for Gewurztraminer – all I know is that it’s aromatic, spicy and creamy all at the same time. Richardson’s, £14.99.
  • Artisan Tasmanian Gewurztraminer: A really perfumed version with spices and lychees on its ample palate. Well done Aldi for this corker. Aldi, online only, £10.99.