I like Gewürtztraminer, and, as I've noted, Washington state has some rather fine and rather affordable Gewürtztraminer. I thought it might be fun to directly compare two of them. Both these wines are in the bargain and budget categories; the Washington Hills was a find at the local Bargain Grocery Store for $3.99, and the Columbia Crest Two Vines Gew¨rtztraminer was a Rite Aid purchase for $4.99; it's been $4.99 for months, and we've been very diligent about doing our part towards stock reduction. Both these wines use grapes from Washington's Columbia Valley, and both list for between $8.00 and $10.00 a bottle. Comparing them, then, seems almost obligatory.
The Washington Hills Winery and vineyards are in Washington's Columbia valley. It's one of the wineries owned by the Precept Wines conglomerate. Their 2006 Gewürtztraminer is a consumer tier wine, meant for enjoying now. It's a light golden color, pale, with a noticeable aroma of green grass and lemon. The taste is the typical Gewürtztraminer spice, poignant, sharply grapefruit-like, but in this instance there's a more tropical Lychee fruit, lemon balm quality to the wine. It's a wine with an artificial cork, and an ABV of 11%. We found it a delightful wine, surprisingly distinctive and easily a bargain.
I've yet to be disappointed by any of the Columbia Crest Two Vines wines. This 2007 Columbia Crest Two Vines Gewürtztraminer is the first of the 2007 I've tried. We weren't disappointed. It's a noticeably sweeter wine than the Washington Hills 2006 Gewürtztraminer, but it too has the typical spice quality of a Gewürtztraminer. The fruit came from the Columbia valley, and it was fermented in stainless steel tanks, as is typical for Columbia Crest. The ABV was also 11%, and again, it was worth every penny, and frankly, given that this wine lists for around $8.00 to $10.00 a bottle, it's another bargain.
Even at list prices, I'd think about either of these wines as a safe bet and a quick pick for Chinese or Thai takeout. We're planning to pick up a couple more bottles of each, and while both of these Gewürtztraminers are quite pleasant on their own, I think it might be fun to pick up a bottle of each and try them with some carefully chosen Thai food. I'm curious about how the acidic-spicy-sweet qualities will work with more overt hot spice, and the lemon grass of Thai cooking.