Reviewer:

Travis Schultz
29 April 2019

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Robert Stein, Semillon Riesling Gewurztraminer 2017

The rise of Asian fusion style restaurants and our penchant for dishes with a hint of spice has seemingly caught Australian winemakers a little by surprise; is it just me or is there a dearth of wine lists with a wide selection of whites with a hint of aromatic sweetness about them? And in fairness, the Australian climate makes it more difficult for vignerons to successfully produce many of the styles that benefit from a cool or even cold climate. But the impression remains, that our local industry players haven’t been able to yet make wines designed to capitalize on the expanding opportunity to pair with East Asian dishes.

Personally, I love the flavour and zing of the Eastern fusion style of menu; think chili, sesame seeds, dried onion, ginger and soy. Yum! But pouring a chardonnay, semillon, sauvignon blanc or even pinot gris, just doesn’t seem to fit the bill. Granted, Australian producers do make some lovely semi sweet rieslings and moscato, but there’s nothing quite as delicious as sipping a well-crafted gewurztraminer as you chow down on a plate of spicy Sichuan quail!

The gewurztraminer wine is one that I first courted while travelling through Alsace some years ago.  It’s a pinky coloured grape on the outside but blessed with sweet white flesh on the inside. On the nose it’s typically pungent with tropical fruit and lychee, though generally more floral once on the palate. With a high level of sugar, it’s a pretty style of wine, and when made with a dry crisp finish, is sublime.
In Australia there are some nice traminers (as we tend to call them) and gewurztraminer made in cooler regions like the Adelaide Hills, Tasmania and the Macedon Ranges in Victoria, but they tend not to be quite as spicy and perfumed as those from Alsace in Germany or the Tyrolean Alps in Austria.

I recently encountered a blend from the Mudgee district in NSW which cleverly combined gewurz with traditional varietals to add perfume and spice to the palate and tropical fruit to the nose. The Robert Stein Semillon Riesling Gewurztraminer 2017 has lovely passionfruit and guava aromatics on the nose but delicious lime, citrus and Granny Smith apple through the middle. There’s a hint of rose petal and lychee through the finish as the gewurztraminer does its work in adding a slightly sweet, though nicely rounded conclusion. The austerity of semillon, the fruit orchards of riesling and the aromatics of gewurz – and the result is an attractive wine with everything you could ask for in a partner for Asian fusion cuisine. Best of all, at only around $18 a bottle, the value proposition is irresistible!
Price: $18
Wine Category: White Blends
Winery Website: www.robertstein.com.au
Travis Schultz is a wine reviewer for the Sunshine Coast Daily and The Grape Hunter extend their thanks to the Sunshine Coast Daily for allowing re-publication of his reviews
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