Liz and I had been sitting on a gift certificate to Legal Seafoods for several months and finally this weekend we made and followed through on plans to use it. I don’t care much for Legal Seafoods these days. To my mind, it’s about 8 more location openings away from Red Lobster status in terms of food quality. BUT, I have to say that I was impressed by the wine we had. I chose the Hofstatter 2005 Kolbenhoff Gewurztraminer knowing absoutely nothing about it beyond that it came from Trentino Alto Adige (northernmost region of Italy). Alto Adige in particular is known for its whites, and considering that the region had been under Austrian rule before Italy relieved them of it in World War I, and that the residents predominantly speak German (street signs are written in both Italian and German and each town has a German and Italian name) I figured they knew how to make a decent Gewurztraminer. I also haven’t tried too many Italian Gewurztraminer’s so I thought it would be interesting to see what was what. It was damn good. Smelled like a typical gewurtztraminer but had a nice bite to it [insert esoteric descriptions of the flavor profile here]. I looked it up when we got home and realized what a steal we had found. Apparently the Hofstatter winery is a well-respected family-owned establishment in Alto-Adige, churning out what Food and Wine called “the only great Italian gewurztraminer”. Dwarfing other family-owned wineries, Hofstatter owns 120 acres of land and bottles a whopping 22 varieties. While they pride themselves on producing the first great Italian Pinot Noir, their Gewurztraminer’s seem to get all the attention – the 2004 vintage won tre bichierri from Gambero Rosso, and I found nothing but glowing reviews of the 2005 in my totally unsystematic and cursory google search. What really got me excited, and checking to see if other restaurants in Boston carried Hofstatter, was the price we paid at Legal Seafoods – $49. I expected the usual restaurant markup and assumed we paid $49 for a $20-$25 bottle. Wine-searcher.com shows it selling for $35-$50.
To sum up, if you see this bottle on a wine list going for this price, get it. If you find yourself in front of an overcooked tuna steak at Legal Seafoods while your date struggles with her lobster claw because the place ran out of lobster crackers (incredulous aside directed at legal seafoods: you’re a seafood restaurant for christ’s sake. you ran out of lobster crackers?? come on), this will justify your night out in one gulp.