Gewürtztraminer Aged by Accident

Inspired by our recent tour in Alto Adige & the Dolomites, I went down into our wine cellar in Piedmont to see what AA wines might be lurking there. Miraculously, there was 2006Gewürtztraminer Kolbenhoffrom J. Hofstätterthat we’d bought on a winery visit a full six years ago and simply forgot about. Kolbenhof is a steep, southern-facing vineyard that I’d hiked through just last week, so we uncorked the bottle, not sure what to expect from a Gewürtztraminer this old.

It was breathtaking: intense, as if this aromatic wine had gathered force over the years, but still fresh, without any nutty or oxidized character. A beautiful burnished gold in color, the wine still showed some classic rose and lycee notes, but the overwhelming aromas were of honey and honeysuckle. Vinified off-dry (10 grams), it was rich and viscous – not surprising at 15%, which added to the impression of sweetness. This was an opulent wine suited for serious food, like the fig and pear ravioli sprinkled with poppy seed that we devoured at a fabulous osteria in Canazei, El Pael. Or the aromatic cheese we brought home from Val di Fassa, called Puzzone (“big stink”) de Moena.

Sadly, this was our only bottle. And it was my final bottle, period, for the spring season in Italy. I returned to New York yesterday, while Claudio stays in Italy for another month to run our July tours. But it’s inspired me to spend the summer delving into Germanic grapes from northern Italy for a future article. If you have any specific recommendations, send them my way!