Gewürztraminer pairing: spicy food and more

Published October 15th, 2022

Gewürztraminer is a native vine of South Tyrol, in northern Italy, widely popular for its charming aromas. Despite producing white wines, the berries present a pink and reddish color, which makes the bunch extremely beautiful.

Gewurztraminer pairing.

Its difficult name, which sounds a bit like a tongue twister, is derived from the word ‘Gewurz’ meaning herb or spice in German, and the name of the village of Termeno (‘Tramin’ in German), a place where traces of it have been found since ancient times.

The most popular Gewürztraminer pairing is spicy food, but its character makes it an excellent partner with many different recipes, from Oriental to German cuisine, from cheese to dessert!

Here we’ll have a look at its favorites growing spots around the world and will go through the best Gewürztraminer food pairings.

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Gewürztraminer grape.

Gewürztraminer pairing: the basics

When looking for the perfect food pairing with Gewürztraminer, the peculiarities of the grape must always be remembered. This wine pairs well with many different foods, you just need to comprehend its essential characteristics and play on harmony rather than contrast.

The first feature to consider in Gewürztraminer wine pairing is its intense and intoxicating aromaticity. It is such a fragrant wine that it is easily recognizable at first sniff by the exotic notes of litchi, mango, pineapple, and then roses and honey and sweet spices. These sweet perfumes make it the best partner for slightly spiced food. Gewürztraminer goes well with recipes that include ginger, curry, turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon, raisins, dried fruit, cedar, and cardamom. Hence, it is an ideal wine to combine with Middle Eastern, Moroccan, and Thai cuisine, and it pairs well with many Chinese dishes.

But Gewürztraminer, unlike other aromatic grape varieties such as Moscato or Torrontes, has a much more delicate acidity and it’s not much of a palate cleanser, so it's best to avoid the volcanic spiciness of some oriental and Mexican dishes, as well as over-fat recipes and acidic ingredients such as tomatoes.

And if the high alcohol content, the full-bodied structure, and its minerality make it unsuitable to combine with delicate preparations, its softness and almost oily-texture make it perfect for white meats such as chicken and turkey and fish with a fatty structure such as salmon.  The residual sugars and sweet aromas of exotic fruits typical of the off-dry wines works deliciously with foie gras.

Regions where Gewürztraminer is produced

Gewürztraminer is a demanding grape variety in terms of soil and climate. Although the vine is vigorous, it hates calcareous soils and is susceptible to disease. In hot climates, it tends to develop a too-high alcohol content and not enough acidity.

Nonetheless, it is practically grown in every corner of our planet: Spain, Switzerland, Luxembourg, the United States, Canada, South America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Italy, Germany, and of course France.

The Alsace region in France is the world's largest producer of Gewürztraminer. Alsatian Gewürztraminer can be dry or sweet (Vendages Tardives or Sélections de Grains Nobles) but they are all spiced, intense and pungent, with floral notes, great texture, and fantastic acidity.

Very good Gewürztraminer wines are also produced in Germany, in particular in the region of Baden and the Pfalz, and in northern Italy, more specifically in the South Tyrol area.

The best Gewurz wines in the United States come from cooler wine regions with high-rise vineyards such as Sonoma, Anderson Valley, or Monterey and more recently from Oregon, and Washington.

Is Gewürztraminer sweet?

Well, the answer is yes and no.

Yes, Gewürztraminer grapes have a certain sugar level that makes them perfect for the production of off-dry and sweet wines.

But, no, it is not always a sweet wine. And even when wines from Gewürztraminer taste dry, they are still characterized by exotic aromas that linger in the nose and mouth for a long time giving a sweet sensation that due to the low acidity level is somehow felt as sweeter as it actually is.

Pair Gewürztraminer with exotic food from across the globe

The exotic, sour, or sweet and sour flavors of Asian and Middle Eastern food and the mix of ingredients (vegetables and fresh and dried fruit) and spices used in these recipes are an excellent match for the delicate sweetness and intense spiciness of Gewürztraminer.

Pair Gewürztraminer with Indian food.

Indian food

Indian food and Gewürztraminer are excellent companions. Spices, especially turmeric and fresh ginger, used in countless Indian recipes make Gewürztraminer's rose petal flavors bolder and more pronounced.

If the chosen dish is not too hot, an Alsatian or German wine with its floral character will be the best pick. If the recipe includes a good dose of chili, better choose a fresh Gewürztraminer from Washington that will dampen the heat and enhance the range of flavors.

Our suggestion: Pfalz Allemagne Gewürztraminer, Schieferkopf

Pair Gewürztraminer with Thai food.

Thai food

Thai cuisine is distinguished by a large use of rice, added to different types of meat, seafood, vegetables, and spices. The great presence of spices such as ginger and cardamom, herbs such as coriander and cumin, and the use of coconut milk in many recipes make the Gewürztraminer wine food pairing ideal.

The vibrant and complex flavors of Thai food awaken the spicy notes of the Gewurtztraminer and the sugars of the wine complement the spicy flavor of the dishes, while the aromatic intensity perfectly matches the sweet and sour notes of some recipes.

Our suggestion: Husch Dry Gewürztraminer

Pair Gewürztraminer with Moroccan food.

Moroccan dishes

Moroccan cuisine mixes the flavors of North Africa with Mediterranean ingredients. Spices play a very important role as well as dried fruit.

The low acidity of the Gewürztraminer will accompany the sweet harmony of the spices in the dishes, rather than overpowering the flavors as a more acidic wine might do. The flavors of nutmeg, dried fruit, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom will perfectly match the aromatic character of an Alsatian wine.

Our suggestion: Domaine Weinbach Cuvee Laurence Gewürztraminer

Sichuanese food

Of all the styles of Chinese food, the one that can offer the best Gewürztraminer pairings is undoubtedly the cuisine of Sichuan. The salient feature of Sichuanese food is the abundant use of garlic and chili, as well as the famous Sichuan pepper. Foods are generally preserved by salting and drying. Ginger, star anise, spices, and aromatic herbs are also used in abundance.

Choose a wine from a cool climate with good balance and enough sweetness and stickiness to soften the intense spiciness of the food.

Our suggestion: Whitehaven Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer wine pairing with European food

Gewürztraminer wine pairing with Alsatian food.
Alsatian tarte flambée with cream cheese, bacon and onions

Alsatian food

Located on the border between France and Germany, Alsace is strongly influenced by the traditions of both countries, even in the gastronomic field. Alsatian cuisine has a peasant tradition, but the simplest ingredients are used to create succulent dishes like choucroute, baeckeoffe, tarte flambée, spaetzle, and foie gras.

With its exuberant character and full body Gewürztraminer perfectly supports the typical richness of these preparations.

Our suggestion: Domaine Emile Beyer Gewürztraminer Tradition

German food

Gewürztraminer goes very well with some German classics like pork chops, roasted ham, sausages loaded with sauerkraut, and Wiener Schnitzel.

The pungent flavors of certain recipes using mustard will be attenuated by the floral and fruity notes of off-dry Gewürztraminers.

Our suggestion: Alto Adige Gewürztraminer DOC "Kolbenhof", Hofstätter

Gewürztraminer cheese pairing

The intense aromas of Gewürztraminer allow you to create infinite and delicious combinations with cheeses.

As a general rule, aged cheeses need wines aged for at least a few years that are capable of enhancing the evolved notes. Spicy cheeses with strong taste like Munster are excellent with off-dry wines, while blue cheeses require a greater dose of sweetness like that of a Vendage Tardive from Alsace.

Our suggestion: Trimbach Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer wine pairing with duck

The meat that generally goes well with Gewürztraminer is not too fat but with a good texture and a distinct flavor. And if it is served with a sweet and sour or spicy sauce, then the match is perfect. And looking at meats with these characteristics, certainly duck is the one that goes best with Gewürztraminer as mentioned in our article on the best duck wine pairings.

Recipes like orange duck, spiced duck leg, or duck curry can be excellent Gewürztraminer pairings.

Gewürztraminer wine with turkey

Gewürztraminer is often referred to as a wine to be paired with poultry as the floral aromas of the wine complement the meat flavors, and the wine has sufficient consistency to balance the texture of the meat.

Turkey in particular, which has a rather neutral taste, often enriched with fillings and sweet sauces, can be enhanced by the sweetness and spicy notes of an off-dry Gewürztraminer, while the creamy and almost oily character of the wine can perfectly balance the consistency sometimes tending to dry of turkey.

Our suggestion: Alexander Valley Vineyards Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer dessert pairing

Sweet wines from Gewürztraminer such as the excellent Alsatian Vendage Tardive and Selection de Grains Nobles are extraordinary dessert wines. Their opulence and great sweetness combined with the rich aromas of dried fruit, honey, sweet flowers, and spices make them perfect for apple pie, rich cheesecakes, fruit tarts, gingerbread, or pumpkin pie.

Our suggestion: Alsace Sélection de Grains Nobles Gewürztraminer "Cuvée Anne", Domaines Schlumberger


As we have shown you, there are almost endless ways to create a great Gewürztraminer food pairing. The exuberance of this wine and its traits tending towards sweetness make it an intriguing wine just waiting to be discovered.

Do not hesitate to indulge yourself with all the possible combinations and pick your favorite Gewürztraminer pairing!!

Gewürztraminer grape photo by Norton Ip