A hot “comfort soup” paired with a “cool climate” white


One of my favorite mid winter recipes matches a chicken tortilla soup with either a Gewürztraminer or a Traminette.   Those two wines are genetically related.  G-wiz wine [as it is often fondly known] is one of the parent varietals in the Traminette hybrid.  Both are known for fruit style flavors and aromas of grapefruit, lychee [a pear like fruit that smells somewhat like a fresh picked rose from the garden], honey, spice, peach, apricot and pineapple.  Typically both have a strong but pleasant “backbone” and since both are fermented in stainless steel tanks, there is no “oak” on the palate or in the nose.  The result is a clean and very pleasant lingering finish.   

Gewürztraminer is often produced on the drier side and is one of the great grapes grown in the oft-politically-disputed Alsace region between Germany and France.  Traminette usually has a hint of sweetness on the finish and was developed very early in the New Your State Agricultural Station as a part of their program which also produced Cayuga White and Chardonel back in the mid 1980’s.  It was promoted as a variety which could be grown where the much more winter-tender Gewurztraminer would not thrive.   The state of Indiana, where vinifera are more problematic, adopted it as its official state variety a couple of years ago. 

Both Traminette and Gewurztraminer are grown here in the county, but are less well known than our amazing Rieslings and Chardonnays.   It is worth a trip to discover who locally might offer either or both.  [As an added incentive to explore:  when you find the wine here in the region, take a picture with you enjoying the bottle, post it on the Ohio Wine Producers Facebook page with the label showing and win a wine and food matching wheel which you can pick up here at our offices in downtown Geneva.]  


In each variety, the “spicy” nose perfectly complements this quick and easy tortilla chicken soup recipe I love.   I found it originally at the allrecipes.com web site. 


½ c. finely chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 T. olive oil

28 oz of chicken broth

1 can stewed tomatoes

1 t. chili powder

1 t. dried oregano

3 cups cooked chicken, chopped into small cubes

1 can garbanzo beans [be sure to drain, rinse and dry them]

1 can black beans [also drained, rinsed and dried]

1 c. frozen whole kernel corn

Handful of crushed Tortilla chips

½ c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese

2 green onions, chopped

1 sliced avocado

In a large saucepan, cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onion glistens.  Stir in the chicken broth, undrained tomatoes, chili powder and oregano. Bring to boiling and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.  Stir in chicken, beans and corn.  Bring to a boil again.  Cover and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and top with chips, cheese, green onion and sliced avocado. 

 For additional information:  dwinchell@OhioWines.org

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About the author:

Donniella Winchell, Executive Director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association...


Donniella Winchell