When you’re opting for Chinese, sushi, or Indian fare, it helps to have a white wine with a touch of sweetness to counterbalance the heat and spice in many of these dishes. I generally look for inexpensive wines with relatively low alcohol — wines like the bottle from Germany at the front of the cooler at my local wine store the other night.
The wine was the 2018 Gewürztraminer from Villa Wolf in the Pfalz region, and it was the perfect accompaniment to the curried chicken and spicy beef dishes I brought home. With its off-dry character, the $12 wine performed its duty just as I had hoped, withstanding the aggressive flavors of the food.
Gewürztraminer, with its floral and spice notes, is often suggested as a pairing for these foods. In Villa Wolf’s wine, those qualities are subtle, which makes it all the more versatile with a variety of foods.
This is not a complicated wine, and it doesn’t need to be. Fruity and fresh, there are notes of pear, white peach, and apricot, in addition to the floral accents. Fermentation and aging take place in stainless steel tanks, and there is no malolactic fermentation (the process by which tart malic acid is converted to softer, creamier lactic acid), which maintains the wine’s acidity and freshness. Alcohol is a restrained 11.5 percent, which also helps to make it almost effortless to drink.
Villa Wolf is owned by Ernst Loosen, the renowned Mosel producer and wine impresario who has his hands all over the wine world, including collaborative efforts in Washington State and Oregon and a U.S.-based importing arm that includes wines well beyond Germany.
With Villa Wolf’s Gewürztraminer, he has a winner — for hot and spicy foods and beyond. I’m going to make sure to have a few bottles on hand for whenever the takeout urge strikes.