Anyone living in or near Switzerland and in need of sound, eclectic wine advice need look no further than Chandra Kurt’s Weinseller, an excellent guide (the title a nice play on ‘seller’ and ‘cellar’) published annually by Werd Verlag. The new edition just landed on my desk and I’ve been leafing through it, turning down the corners of pages (tut tut) and anticipating lots of savvy purchases.
What’s special about Weinseller and why does a copy merit a place in my husband’s stocking every year? Several things. The book is short, succinct, and regularly updated. It’s organised by the stores in which most people buy their wines in Switzerland – Aldi, Coop, Denner, Globus, Lidl, Manor, Spar and Volg. You make a note of the wines that sound appealing and head for the store in question. Most importantly, Chandra has a delightfully relaxed, chatty style that’s a million miles away from some of the pompous pronouncements on wine that you find in other books, print media and the Web. [UK- and US-based readers may remember that Chandra used to edit the Swiss wine chapter of Tom Stevenson’s annually published Wine Report, now sadly defunct.]
At this point I have to acknowledge that, to the chagrin of many (Chandra included), the book exists only in German. But wait; think positive. Whether your Deutsch is rusty, ropey or even non-existent, look upon the book as a tool to improve your language skills. If you’ve got the basic winespeak in English, you’ll soon find your German (or at any rate German wine vocab) coming on by leaps and bounds, thanks to the simple, clear and conversational style and the nice, short entries.
To give you a flavour, here she is (in translation) on a Verdejo from northern Spain that’s one of our faves. It’s stocked by Coop, which is one of the most reliable sources of decent wine in the country. [And in case you’re wondering why, living in France, we shop for some of our wines in Switzerland, the answer is that the Swiss offer a far greater and more eclectic selection than the French, who are famously chauvinistic about wine.]
Verdejo 2011, Nebla, Rueda
This is a new wine from Coop and from the look of it already a winner. On the nose it’s crisp, fresh and nicely floral. It makes me think of white roses, nutmeg and ginger. On the palate these exotic aromas continue in the same vein. Put it in the fridge, put on some cool music and enjoy. A chill-out wine, whether in summer by the pool or in winter by the fireplace. A characterful thirst-quencher with urbane chic.
[and a snip at CHF8.90]