What’s bright pink, smells divine and is shaped like a Burgundy bottle

A bottle of Biggio-Hamina Andreas Vineyard Gewüztraminer, of course! I am not terribly used to seeing colourless Burgundy bottles, even less so seeing them filled with bright pink wine – but I will try anything once, twice if I like it!

The winemaker, the lovely Todd Hamina, told me that ‘this is an orange wine, but it is pink so there you go!’ Not sure what an orange wine is? Let me get you a definition for that:

Orange wine may refer to one of four very different types of wine.

  • Fruit wine made from orange juice rather than grape juice.
  • Sweet white wine macerated with orange peel.
  • A style of wine (usually dry wine) made from white wine grape varieties that have spent some maceration time in contact with the grape skins, giving the wine an orange color.
  • A wine produced in the Orange wine region of New South Wales, Australia.

Thank you Mr Wikipedia!

Toddy’s Gewürztraminer is obviously the third type listed there, but as Gewürztraminer has darker skin than most white grape varieties it produces a pink orange wine – simple! On with the note!

Wild thing, I think I love you!Gewüztraminer Andreas Vineyard 2015, Biggio-Hamina Cellars

If I had not read the grape variety on the label I would have swore blind from the nose it was a Muscat rosé a petite grains wine! It smells so deliciously fresh and grapey – none of that strange Gewüztraminer ‘spice’ just fruit and flowers exhibiting themselves with wanton libidinousness. It simply smells a thousand times more delectable than the most sophisticated date you can imagine.

I fully believe Toddy’s claimed 13% alcohol stated on the label. This a parsec away from the disgusting 16% monsters that swine like Zind-Humbrecht produce. And their wines are not such a pretty colour! I say “Pooh!” to you, Olivier Humbrecht, “Pooh to you with knobs on!”

Ok, I am not going to claim that this is the most wildly complex and profound wine to have passed under the Elitistreview set of noses, but it smells wonderfully delicious, totally harmonious and I think there is a shade of complexity to keep the analytical parts of your brain working whilst you mentally undress the nose of this wine.

The palate has the same Muscatty fruit, but it is not as voluptuously intense as it is on the nose. That does not deminish its charm.

What I must admit to being surprised by a little is the astringency of the palate. Ok, it is not Chateau Pradeaux 2001, but it is distinctly tannic. Rather appealingly tannic given its good fruit level.

And, praise be, I have tasted a Gewüztraminer with an adequate level of acidity! Shocking for a Gewüztraminer not to be a blowsy, dumpy, petulant schoolgirl, eh?

With the acidity and tannin this palate has a good structure to support the perfumed fruit and it makes for an engagingly refreshing drinking experience.

I can see that not everyone would enjoy a pink, tannic, acidic, harmoniously alcoholic, Muscat-scented Gewüztraminer, but they would be wrong; this is a very good wine by any measure.

If I had a bottle left I would keep it for that brilliant masculine moveable feast ‘Nipple day’. This is the first day of the year when young ladies find it warm enough not to wear a bra, whilst it still being cold enough for observant men to register said ladies are not wearing a bra. Such a brilliant holiday screams for quality wine and I think this would suit most pertly.

  • Tom Blach

    Egad! what a surprising colour. I’m rather fond of Z-H, while recognising your characterisation. They need to be jolly old.

  • Todd Hamina

    It’s really not surprising to have a pink gew if you look at the cluster pigmentation and realize some nutter is fermenting it on the skins.

  • Sorry for the late reply, Tom, but I have not been informed when people post comments and I’m too vacant to notice the comment count on the posts.

    I purchased an incredible amount (given I have piss-all money to spent) of Z-H Grand Cru Rieslings from the 2000 and 2001 vintages, as did Dani. We drank then when they were 9-12 years old and, if memory serves (as it almost invariably does when it comes to wine, buggered if I know how I can remember so much when I’m as psychotic as a particularly rabid hare), only about one out of every five bottles we popped was not completely buggered.

    All sorts of faults, usually incredible oxidation, but also a lot of refermentation in the bottle and many simply shagged out and lacking any charactistics that would make them a pleasure to drink.

    The one out of five that was not shagged out was usually pretty good, but when you are spending £40-50 per bottle as they cost back then, the return on the total investment was absolute crap.

    After being enamoured with his wines for about a decade (I even managed to track down a bottle of his Clos Windsbuhl Chardonnay, which, at that point, was the first and only time he had bottled it separately – it tasted of an overly alcoholic Pinot Gris mixed with meths), I’ve come to loathe Olivier Humbrecht’s shitty style of vineyard management, harvest choices and winemaking. I just don’t have the time or money for his wines or the egomaniac himself. He is NFI for lunch at Elitistreview Towers.

  • Tom Blach

    No need to apologise, David!I think we probably don’t disagree about identical wines, I don’t recall drinking any from that period but have had quite a few from the nineties and earlier which have been brilliant, even gewurtztraminer at age 25 and also several from more recent vintages which have pleased greatly. I’ve always bought them at prices far lower than cellar door, which are very high though the great majority have been opened by generous and knowledgeable friends whose knowledge is far greater than mine could ever be. They are certainly not wines to be enjoyed without food of baroque richness and opulence given their extreme dimensions, but we can’t all be as perfect formed as Gina Lollobrigida.

  • Oh dear, I feel I have missed an opportunity with Z-H Gewürztraminer now! Mine all went a couple of decades ago when I began to worry about their ageing profile and so got loads of quality Munster and necked them at the end of meals when everyone, including me, was far too steaming to pass judgement on anything but the Munster (which was always lovely from Fortnum’s).