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Home Winners > Winners 2013 > NEW WORLD: Gewürztraminer & Torrontés

Winner Details

New World: Gewürztraminer & Torrontés

Two grape varieties that make a lot of aromatic noise, but don’t say that much. Alsace was a better bet for these styles this year

A few years ago, both of these varieties showed real promise: decent numbers of entries, a healthy core of Silver medals and even the occasional Gold. Sure, there would be plenty of bellyaching from the tasters about ‘drinking perfume’ or over-confection, but there were signs of hope, too.

All of which made this year’s performance a bit of a disappointment. A Silver and a Bronze for each variety was underwhelming in the extreme. Though Spy Valley – a regular medal winner here – deserves credit for upgrading last year’s Bronze to a Silver in 2013.

It’s a shame, because the New World can definitely ‘do’ this kind of aromatic tartiness at a price that the Europeans left behind some years ago. Even if sommeliers might need a little bit of convincing of the business case.

‘With Torrontés, will people really be aware of it and start regarding it seriously?’ asked Cubitt House’s Matthew Cocks.  Don’t write in. He was speaking rhetorically.

Whether taken seriously or not, price is clearly a big deal for this grape. On this evidence, our tasters viewed it very much as a shot of cheap perfume on the wine list – and not something that will ever attract even halfway serious money.

‘At £7 for Torrontés, you start to lose interest,’ said Mark Angell of The Rookery.

Certainly, part of the grape’s problem seems to be that while it’s capable of making a lot of aromatic noise, it doesn’t really do multiple layers, tending to play one chord very loudly, rather than adding different instruments for texture and complexity. It gives the grape an instant-hit appeal, but not much else.

The Gewürz flights generally had rather more depth and ambition, and saw a good deal of discussion, with not a lot of agreement – beyond that nothing leapt out as Gold-worthy, though the ‘beautiful nose, balance and texture’ of the Spy Valley came closest.

‘Torrontés is distinctive and it’s easily identifiable. But there was not a huge amount going on in most of the wines.’
Nicolas Vierne, The Orange