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Aug 21, 2011 04:43 PM

What, If Anything, to Have with a 1971 Gewurztraminer Beerenauslese?

With my 40th wedding anniversary coming up, I searched the older corners of my wine cellar (cardboard boxes on shelves in my basement, but, hey, I can dream) and found a bottle of Niersteiner Pettenthal Gewurztraminer Beerenauslese (Weingut Louis Guntrum). It has only a 1/2 inch of ulage, a tiny throw of tartrate crystals, and has not turned brown or cloudy, so far as I can tell through the brown bottle glass.

Both my wife and I are fond of sweet wines and gewurztraminers, and we make a fancy meal for ourselves on our anniversary.

So, the question comes up: Usually I choose a wine based on the meal, but with this bottle and its perfect vintage date, I should match the food to the wine. What to do? Have it as an apperitif and as dessert and not pair it with food? Make a dish to fit with it? Or two courses? Seafood? Veal? Fruited chicken? Spicy? Savory? Our tastes and cooking skills are eclectic and extensive.

It's not a type of wine usually found in standard or even fancy wine and food pairings, so I am sort of floating free here.

Any ideas? Even better, any experiences with a similar wine?


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  1. I would save it for after may be fine and it may is one of the better areas that Frank Schoonmaker noted in the "Wines of Germany" that was revised by Peter Sichel in 1980...and Nierstein wines apparently age very well...I am not familiar with the maker.. Depending on your residence, if you have a good baker, a tart with apricot would be my choice to accompany (I would shy away from cheese.) Gewurtz wines are not sweet in the common sense but a beerenauslese from that great vintage may still be kicking...well, maybe, waltzing...(It's been many years since I had any 1971's or 1976's, the two stellar vintages of that decade...)

    1. I've had a few bottles of 1976 Baumann Niersteiner Pettenthal auslese that is a riesling/sivaner blend and it's quite nice.
      Although it's an auslese, the sweetness had largely aged away. Yours is a different producer from a different vintage. And the gewurztraminer is a real curve. But it wouldn't surprise me if it's not all that sweet.
      My 1976s still have a decade or more to go, by the way.

      1. I think I'd save it for after dinner too. I'd make an Apricot Crostata to serve with it. and creme fraiche for the topping. Not too sweet. You don't want your dish to be sweeter than the wine.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ChefJune

          In 1979 I was paying 60DM for 1971 Franken TBA and 10 DM for 1976 Rheigauer TBA. Always the finish of a meal and never with cheese. The wineshop in Ansbach recommended a non-sweetened seasonal strudel. Poppy seed strudel was always considered appropriate with sweet wines. The last bottle in the mid nineties was still very enjoyable.

          Check the cork.

          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

            Mine still has the old price tag: $7.99. What's that in DM?

            I did think of the after dinner not too sweet dessert. But, is there any other use? Something astounding to the tongue? Herbal, maybe? Ordinary gewurz is said to be good with spicey Chinese food, but if the wine is also sweet? Had a regular gewurz the first time ever with frog's legs and liked it.

            More ideas?

            1. re: therealdoctorlew

              In 1971, the exchange rate was set by the central banks at 4 DM per dollar. Hence 32 DM. Also, the german whites produced then were far sweeter then they are now. Changing times, changing tastes.

              1. re: therealdoctorlew

                German gerwurtz is not the same as Alsation in my experience...the German versions are less laced by the lychee flavor and usually much softer...but what you have is a wine made for desert--that's the idea behind BA...If I were to try it as a starter, I would pair it with delicately sauteed chanterelle mushrooms...

          2. Guntrum made decent 1971s, but I've only had rieslings. At age 40 it probably isn't too sweet. I'd just pair whatever you'd do with a younger off-dry Gewurztraminer.