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Chandra Kurt

Based in Zürich, Chandra Kurt is Switzerland’s foremost wine writer, educator, and critic. She has authored more than 20 books […]

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Chandra Kurt

Based in Zürich, Chandra Kurt is Switzerland’s foremost wine writer, educator, and critic. She has authored more than 20 books on wine, including Chasselas – from Féchy to Dézaley – A journey to discover the treasures of the Vaud vineyards and the annual guide Weinseller, along with her wine magazine Weinseller Journal. She studied at the Universities of Zürich and Lausanne and the Institute of Masters of Wine in London. Putting her experience to practice and following her passion for Switzerland’s indigenous varieties, she has launched her own line of wines from vineyards in Geneva, Vaud, and the Valais. Rather than a purely commercial exercise, her wines are an extension of her desire to understand the interaction of terroir and variety and to make wines that are not only a pleasure to drink but reveal something unique and special about the wine styles of her home.

Her collection of wines includes a fresh and vibrantly youthful Chasselas from Geneva aptly named Glou Glou Chasselas – one of the most refreshing styles of Chasselas are the first wines of spring bottled with just a touch of trapped CO2 and made in a manner that capture this variety’s racy minerality, citrus, and floral notes.

She has also partnered with Madeleine Gay in the Valais to create a range of iconically Swiss wines and traditional styles from the Valais. When pressed, her favorite is Humagne Blanche made from grapes planted on limestone soils near Leytron and Saillon. Humagne Blanche is one of the oldest documented varieties in Switzerland and long considered indigenous until recent DNA testing showed it to be identical to the obscure provençale Miousat. The current theory is that this variety was brought to Marseilles when the Greeks colonized the region in 600 BCE. Somehow it made its way up the Rhône River, where only 30 hectares survive in the Valais.

She also makes a Dôle, the traditional Swiss blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay from the Valais from vines planted on limestone and slate soils in the heart of the Valais near Sion. This is a lithe and aromatic blend of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Gamay. While neither of these varieties is indigenous to the Valais, they represent 40% of the vines planted here where they take well to the warm south and southwest-facing limestone and slate slopes above the Rhône.
But our favorite is the unmistakably alpine Cornalin from vines planted on clay-limestone soils near Sierre. Cornalin is native to Italy’s Val d’Aosta just over the St-Bernard pass. So while not exactly indigenous to the Valais, it is perfectly adapted to growing conditions here. With aromas of violets and smoke, flavors of sweet red cherries and elderberries, and charmingly rustic tannins, this is one of the most uniquely expressive red varieties grown in Switzerland today.

Valais, Switzerland
  • Location
    Valais, Switzerland
  • Primary Appellation
  • Proprietor
    Chandra Kurt
  • Winemaker
    Chandra Kurt and various others
  • Size / Elevation
    hectares / 300-800 meters
  • Age of Vines
    25 years
  • Farming
  • Varieties
    Chasselas, Humagne Blache, Savagnin, Petite Arvine, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cornalin, Humagne Rouge, Diolinoir, Syrah
  • Cellar
    Hand harvested, fermentation in stainless steel tanks, aging in tank to preserve the character of variety and terroir
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