What's in a Gewurz

In our first post, I suggested pairing a Gewürztraminer with pan-seared pork chops, and this week I went ahead and did just that. Except I used thick-cut pork tenderloin and a Dijon béchamel with an accompanying vegetable soup. Delicious? Yes. A good pair with Gewürztraminer? It was ok.

Gewürztraminer is known for its somewhat spicy flavor, which makes it a perfect pairing with many Asian and Indian foods. It is thought to have been first cultivated in the Tramin region of Northern Italy, but the world's most noted Gewurz now come from Alsace. This isn't to say that other locations can't do the grape justice--bottles I've had from Washington State and Oregon have been wonderful, but it does thrive in cooler climates.

For this pairing I went with a 2005 Fetzer Gewürztraminer from Mendocino County, California.

Color: Deep golden straw
Nose: Apricot, slight melon, a touch of honey and florals
Taste: Very rich on the palate--round honey and apricot flavors with a hint of peach and a touch of spice
Finish: Excellent. A rich mouth feel with a finishing crispness that belies the wine's initial sweetness.

The wine paired admirably with the pork. Its fine acidity left my palate clean and ready for the next bite or sip while the wine's spiciness coupled very well with the spice of the Dijon béchamel.

Against the vegetable soup, however, the wine just crumbled. I don't know if it was the hearty stock or the shaved asiago cheese I had picked as an accompaniment, but the wine's delicacy was completely overshadowed. Were I to make this pairing in the future, I would definitely stick with the pork, but would have gone with a different, simpler side, such as fingerling potatoes browned in a skillet with oil, salt and pepper or a fall salad of mixed, dried fruits and nuts.

Pan seared pork with Dijon béchamel

  • Cut pork tenderloin into thick, 1.5 inches pieces
  • Over medium heat, cook for four minutes on a side. Raise the temperature to medium high, and sear an additional two minutes on each side. (the double cooking will give you a good sear and also keep the meat succulent and juicy)


  • In a medium sauce pan, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
  • Combine with .5 tablespoons all-purpose flour -- don't just dump the flour in. Add it in very small increments, whisking the whole time.
  • Stir the butter and flour together until the flour is gone
  • Heat 1 cup milk to room temperature -- I used the microwave
  • Slowly whisk the milk into the butter mixture
  • When it's combined, add 1.5 teaspoons of Dijon mustard (or to taste) And shredded Swiss cheese (to taste and consistency)
  • Pour over the tenderloin and top with chopped green onions


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