30 Second Wine Advisor: Mild-mannered Gewurz

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Mild-mannered Gewurz

Look! Up in the sky!

Remember those excited opening lines of Superman? "It's a bird! It's a plane!" I always wondered why people got so excited about a bird or a plane, but I guess it was a simpler time.

Ultimately, though, it all came back to Clark Kent, a mild-mannered reporter at a major metropolitan newspaper, who'd don his tights and fly out for truth, justice and the American way when duty called, but who spent most of his time being, well, mild-mannered.

Today's wine is something like that, too. Gewürztraminer is not a wine that I choose often, and that's frankly because it's rarely anything like mild-mannered. Call it a Technicolor movie of wines, a TV show with the volume turned way up, your Uncle Charlie who wears bright plaid suits with paisley shirts and polka-dotted ties. I like my wines elegant and subtle, mostly, and Gewurz is generally loud.

But today's wine, an unfortunately hard-to-find Gewurz from California's Castoro Cellars, turns the usual image of the grape on its head. Varietally correct but balanced, Castoro Cellars 2010 Paso Robles Gewürztraminer stylishly avoids the over-the-top aromatic abundance that's too typical of the way many producers handle this grape.

It's a very good wine - you'll find my tasting notes below. But there's bad news: Castoro's Gewuerz is made in tiny quantities, and the California Wine Club's allocation has apparently used up the entire world supply. It is still in stock, with the caveats that it's available only to Club members and only in case or half-case lots, although those cases may comprise a mixed selection of Club offerings. Check the tasting notes below for information about The California Wine Club and to browse the databases at Wine-Searcher.com for Castoro Cellars' other, more available wines.

Wine Focus on Cabernet Franc

November has arrived, and that means we've moved on to a new Wine Focus topic in our WineLovers Discussion Group.

You're invited to join our friendly international crowd of online wine lovers as we taste and talk about this French-born grape that's often used in blending but nowadays inreasingly shows up in single-varietal wines. To participate in the conversation, simply click to the forum topic "November: Cab Franc for Wine Focus!"

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Today's Tasting Report

Castoro Cellars 2010 Paso Robles Gewürztraminer


Transparent, very pale gold. Varietally correct, elegant, pears and apples and subtle whiffs of peach and litchee. On the palate it's medium-bodied, crisp and dry; clean fruit favors that the nose with tart acidity, stylishly moderate 12.5% alcohol, and a distinct touch of peach-pit bitterness that adds to its firm structure. Its blend adds 15% Viognier and 8% Muscat Canelli to the mix for added complexity. (Oct. 19, 2011)

FOOD MATCH: The exotic aromas and flavors of Gewurz do make it a natural with Asian fare; we paired it with Sichuan-style pan-fried tofu with sesame-peanut sauce over stir-fried baby bok choy and onions. This one is much more versatile, though, and would make a great match with pork, poultry and seafood.

VALUE: This is an exceptionally stylish Gewurz, well worth the mid-teens price when you can find it, and a noteworthy bargain at The California Wine Club's current $10.99 restocking price for club members.

WHEN TO DRINK: The winery recommends drinking it within the coming year, and I think that's good advice, although Gewurz can age unexpectedly well, so don't pitch it without tasting it if you should "lose" a bottle or two.

WEB LINK: Here's a link to the Castoro Cellars website.

The California Wine Club offers Castoro Gewurz in case lots to members (including new members) at this link.

Check out Wine-Searcher.com for a broad selection of all Castoro Cellars' wines.

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