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Riesling vs Gewurztraminer Wines (Comparison Guide for 2023)

Are you a foodie looking to explore the world of white wines beyond the obvious? Riesling and Gewürztraminer are two sweeter white wines that are both complex and refreshing. But is one better than the other? Let’s compare Riesling vs Gewurztraminer.

As a general rule, Riesling and Gewurztraminer are sweet white wines, though dryer versions exist. Riesling has floral aromas of citrus, peach, and apricot, medium body, and high acidity. Gewurztraminer has spicy aromas of lychee, rose petals, and honey, full body, and low acidity.

These two aromatic white wines offer an array of flavors and textures that will tantalize your taste buds. From their origins in Germany and Northern Italy to differences in mouthfeel and aroma, discover what makes these two unique varieties stand out from the crowd.

Plus find out which foods pair best with each variety for a truly unforgettable experience.

Table of Contents:

What is the Origin of Gewurztraminer and Riesling Grapes?

Gewurztraminer and Riesling grapes are two of the most popular white wine varietals in the world.

They both originated from Germany, but have since been adopted by winemakers around the globe. Gewurztraminer is a spicy, aromatic variety that has floral aromas and flavors of lychee, peach, grapefruit, and spice. Riesling is an acidic variety with intense fruit flavors like green apple and citrus.

It also has a distinct minerality that gives it complexity.

Johann Michael Siebenhaar was the first to record Gewurztraminer’s “intensely fragrant” aroma in 1773, while Johan Peter Geisenheimer popularized Riesling with his 1823 book on German wines. His technique for producing high-quality Rieslings from vineyards near Mainz city earned him fame and notoriety.

By leveraging their expertise, these two winemakers successfully elevated both varieties from obscurity to mainstream success in the Middle Ages.

With its floral aromas and flavors of lychee, peach, grapefruit, and spice, Gewurztraminer is a spicy and aromatic variety; while Riesling has intense fruit flavors like green apple and citrus as well as a distinct minerality that adds complexity to its profile.

Gewurztraminer and Riesling grapes have achieved widespread success since their origin in Germany, becoming some of the most popular white wine varietals on a global scale. And there are MANY wine regions around the world these days.

They are now cultivated throughout Europe (e.g., Alsace region of France, Austria’s Styria, Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige), as well as:

  • Africa
  • Algeria
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • India
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Lebanon
  • Japan
  • Morocco
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Thailand
  • The United States Of America
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay

The Gewurztraminer grape tends to be characterized by larger berries with thick skins, while rieslings typically feature smaller berries with thinner skins, giving them a more fragile texture when consumed raw or crafted into wines. Both varieties usually display their signature fruity aromas even before they are harvested at the peak of ripeness.

Color-wise, young Gewurztraminers exhibit light yellowish-green hues whereas aged Rieslings boast deep golden tones.

Gewurztraminer tends to exhibit sweet notes such as honey, apricot, mango, pineapple, and lychee while Riesling offers a more tart flavor profile with citrusy notes of lime and lemon alongside green apple, quince, and pear.

Depending on the terroir factors associated with their production sites, both varieties may also display characteristics like smokiness, minerality, earthiness, or funkiness along with herbal grassy nuances.

Lastly, when considering food pairings, different styles should be taken into account.

For example, dry versions work well with dishes like fish, poultry, cheese platters, salads, etc., whereas sweeter styles pair nicely with desserts, spiced foods, Asian cuisine, charcuterie boards, cured meats, blue cheeses, foie gras, and strongly flavored dishes due to their higher acidity levels.

These wines offer something special no matter what your palate preferences may be so don’t hesitate to explore all options available out there.

Riesling and Gewurztraminer grapes are two of the oldest varietals known to be cultivated in Europe, with records tracing their origins back centuries ago. Now let’s explore the distinctions between these two wines in terms of their texture and bouquet.

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Key Takeaway: Gewurztraminer and Riesling are two of the most sought-after white wines in the world, having been elevated to global success by their original German winemakers. With sweet aromas like honey, apricot, and lychee for Gewurztraminer, or tart flavors such as lime and green apple from Riesling – these varieties can provide something special for every palate.

What Regions Produce Riesling and Gewurztraminer Wines?

Riesling and Gewurztraminer wines are two of the most popular white wines in the world.

Riesling grapes have naturally high sugar content, giving them a sweet taste, while Gewurztraminer grapes tend to be more acidic with spicy notes. Some regions are renowned for their superior Riesling and Gewurztraminer wines.

The Rhine region is one of the most well-known for producing excellent Rieslings. This area includes Germany and parts of Austria, France, and Luxembourg where vineyards have been cultivating this grape since Roman times. The cooler climate here helps to keep acidity levels low which gives these wines their signature sweetness and fruitiness that make them so enjoyable to drink.

Gewurztraminer, boasting origins in the cooler climates of Europe such as Alsace (France) and Trentino-Alto Adige (Italy), can benefit from higher altitude vineyards that provide plenty of sunshine during the day yet cool temperatures at night. This slower ripening period creates complex flavors with intense aromas like lychee, rose petals, or honeycomb on the nose which are followed by subtle spice notes when drinking it.

Australia is another great producer of both varieties, although their take on the wines tends to differ from those in Europe due to the lower altitude vineyards that create riper fruit flavors with less acidity which makes them sweeter than their Old World counterparts.

Furthermore, New Zealand has made a name for itself when it comes to Riesling thanks to its unique terroir and meticulous winemaking techniques that bring out all the classic notes we know and love – think apricot or peach accompanied by jasmine or honeysuckle plus zesty citrusy hints as well.

In conclusion, there are many regions around the world that produce delicious examples of both Riesling and Gewurztraminer wines each offering something unique depending on where it’s made. Whether you’re looking for an intensely aromatic glass full of exotic spices or a refreshingly crisp sip bursting with bright fruity flavors, there is something out there sure to please every foodie’s palate.

Riesling and Gewurztraminer vintages vary from area to area, each imparting its own distinctive flavor. Now, let’s delve into why these two grapes have such distinctive tastes by comparing their visual properties.

Key Takeaway: Riesling and Gewurztraminer wines are two of the most sought-after white wines in the world, offering a range of sweet to spicy notes depending on where it’s made. From Germany’s Rhine region to Australia and New Zealand, there is something out there for everyone – whether you’re looking for an exotic adventure or simply want a refreshing sip bursting with fruity flavors.

How Do Riesling and Gewurztraminer Grapes Differ in Appearance?

Riesling and Gewurztraminer grapes have distinct differences in appearance.

Riesling grapes are medium-sized, yellowish-green with a distinctive pointed end that makes them easy to recognize. Riesling grapes have a naturally sweet taste, making them ideal for pairing with desserts or dishes that require an additional layer of sweetness.


On the other hand, the Gewürztraminer grape is larger and rounder than Rieslings and can range from pale green to golden yellow in color. The flavor of these grapes is usually described as being spicy or floral with notes of lychee, rose petals, peach, honey, and apricot – perfect for off-dry or sweet wines like German Auslese or French Vin Doux Naturel (VDN).

When it comes to acidity levels, Riesling has a low acidity which gives it its signature sweetness while Gewurztraminer has higher acidity which adds complexity and balance to the flavors of the grape.

Both types of grape thrive in cooler climates such as Germany’s Rhine region where they produce some of the world’s most sought-after wines including Eiswein (ice wine) made from frozen Riesling grapes harvested late at night when temperatures drop below freezing point.

Riesling’s low pH level lends a crisp texture and high minerality to the palate, while Gewurztraminer’s higher sugar content produces more glycerol, resulting in a fuller mouthfeel and greater viscosity that begs for leisurely sipping over dinner conversations.

Overall, both varieties offer different experiences depending on what type you choose but no matter what your preference may be there is something special about each one that will make any occasion memorable whether you are enjoying a glass by itself or pairing it up with food.

Riesling and Gewurztraminer grapes differ in appearance due to their size, shape, color, texture, and flavor profile. With this knowledge of the differences between these two types of grapes in mind, we can now explore how they vary when it comes to sweetness or dryness as wines.

Key Takeaway: Riesling’s tartness and Gewurztraminer’s sweetness provide contrasting yet complementary tasting experiences. Both varieties can be enjoyed on their own or paired with food to make any occasion memorable.

Are Riesling and Gewurztraminer Wines Sweet or Dry?

Riesling and Gewurztraminer wines can vary in sweetness, from dry to sweet.

Riesling grapes are typically low in acidity and have a naturally sweeter taste than other varieties of white wine. This makes them perfect for making sweet or semi-sweet wines. Gewurztraminer grapes, on the contrary, tend to be higher in acidity and typically result in fuller-bodied dry wines.

When it comes to sweetness levels, riesling is often labeled as either “dry” or “semi-sweet” depending on how much residual sugar remains after fermentation.

The lighter, lower-alcohol styles tend to be drier while the fuller-bodied, higher-alcohol varieties are more likely to be semi-sweet. Some examples of popular dry rieslings include those produced in Germany’s Rhine region such as Spätlese and Auslese which are both considered “dry”.

Semi-sweet versions such as Kabinett and Ausbruch also come from this region but contain slightly more residual sugar than their dry counterparts.

Gewürztraminer is known for its spicy aroma that pairs well with food dishes like Asian cuisine or spicier Mexican dishes like mole sauce or enchiladas verdes con pollo y queso fresco (green chicken enchiladas).

While some producers make semi-sweet versions of Gewürztraminer, they tend to lean towards being a bit drier overall compared to Riesling due to their higher acidity levels. These high acidities create an intense flavor profile that lingers on the palate long after each sip has been taken – something many wine drinkers find enjoyable when paired with food dishes featuring bold flavors.

Overall, normally sweet Rieslings and Gewurztraminers offer different experiences when it comes to sweetness levels – so whether you prefer your whites on the dry side or want something a little sweeter, there is sure to be one out there for you.

Riesling and Gewurztraminer wines can range from sweet to dry, depending on the region they are produced in. With this knowledge of sweetness levels in mind, let’s explore what foods pair best with Riesling wines for a truly delightful experience.

Key Takeaway: Riesling wines range from dry to sweet, while Gewurztraminer typically produces drier styles with higher acidity. Depending on your preference for sweetness and flavor intensity, both varieties offer something unique – so there’s sure to be one that suits your palate.

What Foods Pair Best with Riesling Wines?

Riesling wines, renowned for their delicate and fruity flavors, are an ideal match for a variety of dishes.

With its crisp acidity, Riesling pairs well with foods that have high levels of fat or sweetness. For example, the wine can balance out dishes such as creamy pastas or rich desserts like cheesecake. Additionally, it goes well with spicy food due to its bright notes that help cut through the heat.

When pairing a high-quality Riesling with savory dishes, try opting for lean proteins like chicken or fish that won’t overpower the subtle flavor profile of the wine. Dishes featuring fresh herbs also pair nicely with this type of white wine; think grilled salmon topped with dill and lemon juice served alongside a glass of chilled Riesling.


For those looking for something more indulgent, consider trying a bottle of off-dry (or semi-sweet) Riesling paired with sweet and salty dishes such as smoked ham glazed in honey mustard sauce or pork tenderloin cooked in an apple cider reduction sauce.

These types of meals tend to bring out the fruitier notes in sweeter styles of Rieslings while still providing enough acidity to balance out any heavy flavors present on your plate.

For a truly unique pairing of food and drink, why not give German cuisine a try?

German cooking is renowned for being both hearty and delicate at times – perfect characteristics when considering what foods will go best alongside a bottle of Riesling.

Think traditional Bavarian sausages served up alongside tangy sauerkraut – all washed down by a glass (or two) of ice-cold Reisling. Or how about some freshly made spaetzle noodles accompanied by roasted vegetables?

Again these lighter style meals match perfectly with this classic German grape variety too.

Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous why not experiment further and try matching different styles of a German Riesling from around Germany itself? A dry, racy Mosel might be ideal next time you fire up your barbecue, whereas an Auslese from Pfalz could be just what you need when serving up dessert after dinner one night soon.

Riesling wines are a great pairing with lighter fare such as seafood, poultry, and salads.

For those looking to explore further into the world of food and wine pairings, Gewurztraminer wines offer an interesting alternative that can add depth to heavier dishes like pork or game meats.

Key Takeaway: Riesling wines are an ideal accompaniment to a variety of dishes, ranging from creamy pastas and rich desserts to smoked ham glazed in honey mustard sauce or pork tenderloin cooked in apple cider reduction. Try matching German dishes like Bavarian sausages and tart sauerkraut with a classic Riesling for an unforgettable taste experience.

What Foods Pair Best with Gewurztraminer Wines?

Gewurztraminer wines are a unique and delicious variety of white wines that originates from the Rhine region in Germany.

Gewurztraminer wines boast a delectable, sugary flavor and mild acidity accompanied by fragrant bouquets. Gewurztraminer wines make for a great accompaniment to numerous types of food, making them perfect for any gathering or special event.

Gewurztraminers, known for their sweetness, should be complemented with food that has some level of sweetness or spice to balance the flavor.

Therefore, spicy dishes with sweet and spicy elements such as Asian food or Mexican dishes are ideal to pair with Gewurztraminer. For example, dishes like Thai curries or spicy Mexican dishes can make great accompaniments to Gewurztraminers due to their combination of sweetness and heat.

Similarly, dishes featuring honey-glazed meats or root vegetables roasted in balsamic vinegar can also bring out the best flavors in this type of wine.

Another great option to pair Gewürztraminer with is cheese.

The light sweetness found in these wines pairs perfectly with creamy cheeses like Brie or Camembert – just make sure not to overpower the flavor profile by adding too much cheese. Stone fruit such as peaches or fruits such as apples can bring a pleasant equilibrium of sourness and sweetness when enjoyed with Gewurztraminer wine.

Finally, don’t forget about desserts.

While neither are technically dessert wines, Riesling grapes (the main grape used for producing Gewurztraminer) are naturally sweeter than other varieties so they work wonderfully with all kinds of sweets such as tarts made with fruit preserves or spiced cakes topped off with caramel sauce.

If you’re feeling adventurous why not try baking something yourself using one cup each of riesling and sugar? Be amazed at the scrumptious flavor of this homemade treat.

Overall, there’s no wrong way to enjoy a glass of Gewurztraminer – but if you want your meal experience extra special then definitely consider what types of food will go best together before pouring yourself a glass.

With its unique flavor profile ranging from fruity notes to floral aromas there’s something here for everyone so experiment away until you find your perfect match.

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Key Takeaway: Gewurztraminer wines are a delightful, sweet variety of white wines that pairs well with Thai curries, honey-glazed meats, and root vegetables. They can also be enjoyed alongside creamy cheeses like Brie or Camembert for an extra special meal experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Gewürztraminer or Riesling sweeter?

Gewürztraminer is generally considered to be sweeter than Riesling.

Gewürztraminer has a more pronounced sweetness than Riesling, with its lychee and rose petal aromas in contrast to the latter’s subtler floral and flavors of citrus. On the palate, Gewürztraminer often exhibits higher levels of residual sugar than Riesling which contributes to its overall sweetness.

Additionally, Gewürztraminers tend to have lower acidity levels compared to Rieslings making them appear even sweeter in comparison.

What is Gewürztraminer similar to?

Gewürztraminer is a type of white wine that originated in Germany.

Gewürztraminer has an aromatic bouquet of lychee, rose petals, ginger, orange blossom, and honey with varying sweetness from off-dry to medium-dry. Its flavor profile is often described as sweet and off-dry to medium-dry with hints of peach or apricot.

The body can range from light to full depending on the region it was produced in.

Gewürztraminer is a great wine to go with Thai cuisine due to its spiciness but also goes great with dishes like pork chops or chicken cooked in cream sauce. For a contrasting profile, Riesling can be suggested with its higher acidity and citrus fruit flavors compared to the stone fruits found in Gewürztraminer.

Is Gewürztraminer a Riesling wine?

Gewürztraminer is a white wine grape variety that produces an aromatic, full-bodied dry, or sweet style of wine. It is related to the Riesling grape and has similar characteristics such as high acidity and floral aromas.

However, Gewürztraminer grapes have more intense aromatics than Riesling grapes which makes them stand out from other varieties. Therefore, it can be definitively said that Gewürztraminer is not a type of Riesling but rather its own unique varietal with distinct qualities.


When it comes to choosing between riesling and Gewurztraminer wines, there is no clear winner, though there are marked differences.

Both of these aromatic whites possess their own individual traits that set them apart. While Rieslings tend to be more acidic with higher residual sugar levels, Gewürztraminer wine is a more aromatic wine known for its intense aromas and off-dry styles.

Ultimately, it should come down to individual taste and food pairings – both can be enjoyed in various forms. No matter which wine you choose, you’re sure to enjoy its distinct flavor profile when exploring the world of these amazing white wines.

Both make a good choice for a wide variety of foods.

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