If you are preparing for the sommelier exam, or more simply if you want to understand more about wine and learn to recognize it, distinguishing Moscato (one of the oldest varieties in the world) and Gewürztraminer blindly is an excellent place to start. Because it's not difficult, you just need to know how.
Moscato and Gewürztraminer : here's how to recognize and distinguish them if you taste wine blind.
Before starting: we at Sommelier Wine Box adopt this rule to distinguish the grape variety from the wine of the same name: the grape in lower case, the wine in capital letters. Let's go!
Let's start with the grapes: what characterizes the Moscato and Gewürztraminer vines?
These are aromatic grapes, which means that the grape smells of the same aromas that we smell in the glass. A grape-wine assonance, if you like musical metaphors.
How to recognize Moscato blindly?
Here we are on the safe side: from the perfume .
Moscato wine has a completely peculiar odor profile: intense, fine, and is characterized above all by floral aromas. Lots of flowers , therefore, especially orange blossoms, wisteria and lime trees; on a light background of peach, apricot and sage. All seasoned with a sweet note, evident on the nose even in the dry versions.
What causes the scent of Moscato?
The aromas of Moscato are mainly due to terpenes , linalool and geraniol . These are odorous compounds present in many other grapes, but in small quantities, whereas in the Moscato grape they are found massively.
How to recognize Gewürztraminer blindly?
Once again we are faced with an aromatic grape with a precise profile, which can be recognized by its aroma .
Gewürztraminer has a similar odor profile to that of Moscato, but the aromas are more intense and the floral note is more complex , with orange blossom, geranium flowers, rose petals, lavender but also lemongrass leaves and lily of the valley. Furthermore, on the nose there are also hints of candied citrus fruits and hints of spices (cloves and cinnamon). A character of sumptuous exuberance.
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What causes the scent of Gewürztraminer?
The scents of Gewürztraminer are also due to linalool and geraniol but also to terpenes such as citronella , terpineol (which expresses the smell of lily of the valley) and nerol (responsible for the rose scent). While candied fruits are given by norisoprenoids and mild spices by 4-vinylguaiacol .
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How to pair Moscato?
Moscato is a generally light and elegant wine, with good freshness : these characteristics make it suitable for pairing with equally delicate and fragrant dishes.
In the dry version, it is an aperitif wine, perfect to accompany cured meats and cheeses. You can also try it in combination with molluscs, crustaceans and stewed fish.
How to pair Gewürztraminer?
Gewürztraminer is a wine with character , not very easy to match.
Its structure , minerality and alcohol content do not make it suitable for delicate foods, so instead go ahead with smoked salmon, blue cheeses... It is interesting to try with white meats in decidedly spicy oriental preparations. Furthermore, it is an excellent meditation wine (a term invented by the legendary Luigi Veronelli ), to be tasted on its own.
And if you don't like the wines: we'll refund you!
References :This piece was written after many tastings and numerous readings. In particular, the following were important texts: Il Respiro del vino by Luigi Moio; Rusjan, M. Strlič, T. Košmerl, H. Prosen, The response of Monoterpenes to different enzyme preparations in Gewürztraminer wines , 2009; Furdíková Katarína, Makyšová Katarína, Ďurčanská Katarína, Špánik Ivan, Malík Fedor, Influence of yeast strain on aromatic profile of Gewürztraminer wine , 2014.