Most people either love Gewürtztraminer . . . or hate it. It has an intense aroma and strong flavors and is fairly difficult to enjoy with food. Sommeliers typically suggest pairing Gewürtztraminer with highly seasoned food and spicy Asian and Mexican dishes.
The grape is thought to be a mutated form of the Traminer grape. Due to its taste, gewürz (meaning spicy) was attached to it by Alsatians in the nineteenth century. The name caught on, but it wasn't until 1973 that the term Gewürtztraminer was officially adopted.
The first thing you'll notice is that Gewürtztraminer smells like flowers. When you taste it, you will see that it can be sweet and spicy at the same time. Not all Gewürtztraminers are sweet. It depends on who is making them.
Alsace has had arguably the most success with Gewürtztraminer. Producers there make it dry unless they're using the grapes for dessert wines, in which case the wines are exceptionally sweet.
In Germany, Gewürtztraminers are usually off-dry to medium sweet. They have less alcohol and more acidity than their Alsatian counterparts. The high acidity camouflages the perception of all that sweetness.
Because Gewürtztraminer grows best in cool climates, it has found good homes in Austria, eastern Europe, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States especially Oregon, Washington, and New York. A few U.S. producers offer a dry version of the wine, but most produce Gewürztraminer with a perceptible sweetness.