Jon Bonné, the NY ex pat who moved to SF to write about wine for many years, then moved BACK to NY to get married, has penned an opus to a rising-star wine region – Germany’s Baden-Württemberg and W. Bavaria – a region collectively known as Swabia.
Now, most of my education in the German language is limited to grape varieties, soil types and the tongue-twisting words commonly found on complex German wine labels. Such a basic facility with the language suggest the region’s pronunciation should be “SVAH-bia”. But Google is of little help in providing confirmation of my tentative suggestion. From Google can tell, the English pronunciation is “SWAY-bia”, while the German pronunciation is “SWAH-bia”, with a short A but still pronouncing the W. I’m surprised the W isn’t pronounced as a V, but then, perhaps Google just doesn’t know everything (shocker). I hope an astute German-speaking reader will comment and I can erase this confusion in a revised posting.
But what’s in a name? The wines of Swabia by any other name would taste as sweet.
Wait, these are dry wines, so I need a better Bardian reference, but you get my drift. The key thing is to read Jon’s article, then go out and buy some of these wines to taste for yourself. They are lighter than their new-world counterparts, but I hesitate to use the term “Burgundian” as they are unique unto themselves. Yet given their Burgundian origins, it’s no surprise that the German word for Pinot Noir (the flag-bearing varietal from the region) is Spätburgunder, which roughly translates as “the late-ripening grape of Burgundy”.
And though Jon emphasizes the red wines of Swabia, it’s worth noting that the white wines are also of great interest to wine lovers – try the curiously named “Gutedel” (GOOT aid-uhl, as in edelweiss), a white variety also known as Chasselas (SHA salahh) which is worthy of note because it has not yet to be discovered by hip millennial wine bars (aka it’s still affordable). And the Swabian Pinot Gris (Grauer Burgunder), which may be a bit higher priced but is equally and uniquely charming.