Is there ever a sweeter time in Hong Kong than November? Comfy weather, beautiful sunsets, and pre-celebratory parties are in full swing. This month we look at two grape varietals perfect for autumn liveliness: Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Noir.
is an aromatic grape varietal used predominately in white wines. With its high sugar levels, Gewürztraminer is usually off-dry, or medium sweet. This grape is popular for its robust floral flavours (especially rose), and lychee. Wait did someone say lychee? Yes - Hong Kongers are very much into their Gewürztraminer. Given it’s relatively affordable prices, Gewürztraminer’s actually very difficult to grow and manage. It’s sensitive to soil and climate changes, prone to disease; managing this grape varietal has been described as a labour of love. Gewürztraminer has been known as a German and French wine, but it’s making bold appearances in new world wines, especially in more experimental wines favoured for their aromatics (Garage Project’s Fairy Bread Series for example). For this exercise, we’ll examine three Gewürztraminers from traditional wine-making regions.
This Gewürztraminer from Pfalz has been a staple table wine for many of our customers. It’s medium sweet, with soft acid, and has a strong fresh lychee flavour. As an everyday wine the price is almost unbeatable, and it’s a wine best paired with Hong Kong food too, like chicken and pork dishes. Highly recommend for drinkers with a sweet tooth.
Unlike Ellermann from Germany, this Alsace iteration is more of an off-dry drinking wine, with a much more pronounced mineral savoury character. The flavour is more subtle on the lychee flavour, and forward with floral, citrus, and spices notes. This could be a good alternative for drinkers looking a refined, mineral-integrated, and well structured Gewürztraminer.
If you want to try a dry Gewürztraminer, this wine’s for you. It has a much more tropical fruits and floral expression, including mango, yellow peach, citrus, with rose and floral finishes. This Gewürztraminer has a more subtle lychee undertone, while the acid and citrus is more dominate. Agraria Riva Del Garda is a beautiful drink on a sunny Autumn afternoon, it’s refreshing, elegant, and pairs with almost anything one would enjoy in such weather.
exists in both old and new wine-making countries, but their characters can vary so much based on the locale, soil composition, and perhaps most importantly, production process. In recent years, experimental wine-making has changed our concept of what makes a good wine. They push for brighter, lighter, and delicate elegance in place of the old oak dominate, muscular wines. Throughout this process, Pinot Noir was at the forefront of this change. Below are examples of how much Pinot Noirs can vary, we’ve deliberately chosen wines that are more affordable for better comparisons of their stylistic differences.
Villa Maria’s Pinot Noir is one of the best value wines around. I often see this wine in higherend restaurants, for its complexity, maturity, and depth - while pairing so well with everything from stronger flavoured food like steaks, to lighter ones like a Charcuterie board. Villa Maria’s Pinot Noir pours ruby, with red mature cherries as the dominate flavour, with hints of strawberries, and other red berries - all the while intermingled with roasted coffee and dark cocoa notes.
Moss Wood Pinot Noir 2019 is the opposite of Villa Maria. Moss Wood is bright, vibrant, and very very lively - the wine is jumping out of the bottle as you remove the cork. I got loads of bright strawberry notes, plum, red cherry, violet, with a bit of white oak. This is a high acid wine, perfect for a sunny day with a plate or cheese and cold cuts, or salads - almost like drinking fruit juice on your balcony.
Edouardo Delaunay Septembre 2019, Pinot Noir, Bourgogne, Burgundy, France
Another amazingly value drinking wine, Edouardo Delaunay Septembre 2019 Pinot Noir has a beautiful red ruby hue and smells of fresh red berries, violet, and baked spices. This is definitely an everyday wine, because of its soft acidity, good length, and overall very solid structure. Flavours of red fruits with well integrated oak and spice notes makes for a very pleasing palate.