Alpine wines, a mail order merchant based in Yorkshire, grew out of Nick Dobson Wines, which was taken over by Joelle Nebbe-Mornod after Nick sadly passed away in 2012. Joelle actually started out in science with a Masters in Theoretical Physics from Lausanne, became an Internet entrpreneur and then got seduced by the idea of selling the wines of her native Switzerland to the British.
Switzerland is one of the world’s most neglected wine countries. People sometimes find it harder to get hold of Swiss wines than those of smaller producers of quality wine, such as Georgia, Slovenia or Croatia. Well, it’s not true, that bit about hard to get hold of. Joelle imports many of Switzerland’s finest and up-and-coming producers from most Swiss wine regions. Not just the wines of The Valais which some Brits have come across, but the vastly improved wines of the beautiful Corniche of Lavaux just west of Montreux, or the almost hidden vineyards west of Geneva around the Rhone, among many others. You’ve never tried Ticino Merlot? There are several here.
Yet Alpine Wines is much more than Switzerland. Okay, a few of the wines stretch the “alpine” moniker a bit (Beaujolais, Mosel), but I don’t really care when they are introducing new, family, winegrowers focussed on quality. Actually, where I think Alpine Wines really scores is in a very well curated list of Austrians. Few are household names…yet. But it’s here where some of the most fascinating wines of the range reside.
There’s no doubt that Joelle knows a lot about customer service. The wines most often arrive the next day after a call or order online, in excellent packaging, and the team will go the extra mile to accommodate special requests. I think for those who are quick, you can catch her and husband Robb at the Christmas Market at the Swiss Church in Covent Garden tomorrow (22 Nov).
My personal recommendations from the range would include pretty much anything from Simon Maye (Chamoson, Valais) in Switzerland, plus three Austrians – Gunter and Regina Triebaumer (Rust), Rainer Christ (Vienna, a great producer to sample the unique Viennese Gemischter Satz blend from) and Heidi Schrock (also Rust). Heidi is perhaps a household name to fans of Austrian wines, and I love her wines, all of them, from her simple entry level Blaufrankisch to her magnificent Ruster Ausbruch dessert wines. And as we’re in Austria, who wouldn’t want to try a Zierfandler-Rotgipfler blend from Stift Klosterneuberg, the famous Augustianian Monastery just north of Vienna?
This is a merchant every adventurous wine drinker would have a lot of fun with.