3/15/2008

Corcoran Vineyards Traminette 2006: A Floral Fascination

Hello Friends,

Our grape variety for today is Traminette, a hybrid variety whose name rolls off the tongue just as easy as the wine it produces. At least that is what we expect, right? In this posting we will chat a little about this hybrid grape variety, as well as sniff and snip a fine local example.

Traminette Grapes

Traminette was developed in 1965 at the University of Illinois. Traminette is a hybrid grape variety that is a result of crossbreeding the more popular Gewürztraminer with a variety known as Joannes Seyve 23.416, which is closely related to Seyval Blanc. To draw reference to the number mentioned (ex. 23.416), it is worth noting that a myriad of grapes are created and are simply known as numbers. Only the ones selected for their quality and other important characteristics are released for production and given attractive names – like, you guessed it, Traminette.

By 1968, Traminette, which was then known as NY65.533.13, was under the scope, so to speak, at Cornell University in Upstate New York. The grape research program at Cornell has turned out other significant hybrid varieties like Chardonel and Cayuga White, which are popular among the Finger Lake communities. The basic idea here is to cultivate a grape that is winter hardy and disease resistant with the finesse and quality of the classic European varieties, but without their defined and much preferred growing conditions. Thus we have hybrids, varieties created by man, in a lab by crossing grapes of two different species. What they were attempting to do in New York with Traminette, was to retain the flavor profile and basic structure of the parent Gewürztraminer, yet preserve the cold hardiness and vigor of Joannes Seyve 23.416. I think it worked.

Corcoran Vineyards Traminette 2006

Traminette’s coming out party took nearly three decades. I think it is safe to say that this is one patient grape, right? Traminette was officially named and released in 1996 and its popularity soon took off. Traminette is more winter hardy and disease resistant than Gewürztraminer and many fans of the hybrid grape variety argue that the quality of a Traminette wine in good vintage years can supersede that of its parent, Gewürztraminer. Their flavor profiles are comparable and both pair well with similar dishes, with spicy Indian and Thai cuisine being great mates for these wines. Outside of Upstate New York, Traminette is produced in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, and our very own state, Virginia, as well as a host of other cool climate states. Here in Virginia you will not find too many varietal bottles of Traminette. I get the impression that Traminette is used more as a blender in Virginia wines to add aroma, acidity or complexity. One Virginia producer that makes a nice Traminette varietal wine is Corcoran Vineyards in Loudoun County. I suggest all Virginia wine lovers secure a few bottles of this fragrant and well-made wine for the upcoming seasonal warmth. To the best of my knowledge, this wine can only be found at the winery, so pay the tasting room a visit one weekend and try some. That said; let’s pop the cork on a bottle of the Corcoran Vineyards Traminette 2006.

Enjoy a glass outdoors by the pond this spring

Review: The Corcoran Vineyards 2006 Traminette is lemon yellow in color with inviting floral aromas, highlighted by fresh cut roses and subtle hints of lychee fruit. On the palate are flavors of melon, honeysuckle, and touches of spice on the finish. There is good balance between the residual sugars and acidity and a slight tanginess, making this a nice springtime sipper on its own or a mate to Indian or Thai cuisine, even light picnic fare. This wine is drinking well now, so grab a bottle at the winery and bask in the friendly ambience while enjoying a glass by the relaxing pond. Price: $16 Alcohol Percentage: 12.5% Enclosure: Synthetic



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    Dezel



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