Roter Traminer, and its better-known synonym, Gewürztraminer, or “spicy (aromatic) Traminer,” is an old, traditional variety prized for the high quality of its wine.
From the Middle Ages until the 19th century, it was widely planted in central and eastern Europe. German plantings today are centered in the Obermosel district, that portion of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer that is adjacent to Luxembourg.While it is frost-resistant, it does need warm vineyard sites and soil with good drainage. It begins to ripen about the end of September. Yields are quite variable (due to weather conditions) and as such, it is cultivated as a specialty rather than for its profitability.
Gewürztraminer wines have a distinctive, pronounced bouquet and flavor, often compared with lychees or roses. Even when vinified dry, German Gewürztraminer is usually less austere than its Alsatian counterpart. Sweeter versions have a loyal following here, too. It is a traditional grape of the Pfalz, but is also grown in Baden, where it is known as Clevner, and in Rheinhessen.