- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cono Sur “Vision,” Gewurztraminer, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 2008, $14

Gewurztraminer is a love it or leave it sort of wine. Very floral, with aromas resembling roses, orange blossom and honeysuckle, and fruit flavors echoing lychees, it’s undeniably exotic. Because the grape is naturally low in acidity, the wines too often end up unbalanced and flabby, tasting something like liquid marmalade. Yet when grown in appropriately cool regions, and when yields are kept low, they can be stunning.

Chile is not the first place that comes to mind when looking for a Gewurztraminer to love (Alsace in northern France produces the best-known wines), but this “Vision” bottling from Cono Sur offers all of the varietal’s charms without any of its potential defects. Opulent aromatics introduce a rich, full-bodied wine that is full of luxurious flavor and, most important, exhibits fine balance. It delights because of harmony as much as headiness.

Young Gewurztraminer can be delicious to drink by itself, but it also proves quite versatile at the dinner table. It’s a great partner for smoked fish, and it pairs well with many Asian or fusion foods redolent of ginger, lemon grass or coconut milk. Because it feels rich on the palate, it can hold its own with even quite spicy dishes. (Imported by Vineyard Brands.)

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