It took me about a year and a half to pronounce this wine correctly (guh-VERTS-trah-mee-ner) and almost three to spell it. So the simple feat of ordering it out loud puts a prideful smile on my face. It also happens to be one of the most distinctive wines in the world, and most people know instantly whether they will like it or hate it.
What makes "Gewurz" (call it guh-VERTS until you can say the whole thing; it's easier and makes you sound pretty cool) so special is the lychee nut character, in both aroma and flavor. Lychee nuts are those soft pink fruits often served for dessert at Chinese restaurants -- if you still don't know what I'm talking about, go down the "international" aisle and grab a can of them -- they should be right next to the water chestnuts. Gewurz also has something of a "floral" character, smelling like roses in particular. The very best examples come from the Alsace region in France. There are also decent ones from New York State but they don't hold a candle to the French versions.
Hugel is a winery in the Alsace region, and their Gewurz is, year in and year out, one of the most consistent, clean and flavorful examples of the grape. The nose is overly expressive, with flowery aromas of rose petals and ripe lychee nut. On the palate the texture is smooth and oily, and there is a distinct lychee flavor along with other fresh fruits, spice and a mineral component.
Such a distinctive wine may seem difficult to match with food; in fact, it's quite easy: Asian or spicy cuisine are perfectly complemented by Gewurztraminer. Order up some Chinese take-out and pick up a bottle of Gewurz to see what I mean.