Christmas is coming up soon and what better gift than a great book? Well-known wine aficionado Alf Tumble (yes you have seen his name and face in this column before) has just published a new book on his favourite subject. This time, it’s about wine with an address. The title is somewhat confusing for a beginner in the wine world, but don’t worry – we will get a chance to straighten out any question marks, as I got the chance to shoot a few questions in Tumble’s direction.
Please explain in your own words how your everyday situation has changed since you was last interviewed for Totally Stockholm, after you had released your book Drick.
Since the release of Drick! – or maybe because of it – I got the job of wine critic at Dagens Nyheter. At the same time I started my own podcast, *Dela en flaska*, where I interview a person – a sommelier, chef, wine journalist etc – while we’re sharing a bottle of secret wine. When the bottle is empty the interview is finished and the guest have to guess the contents of the bottle. And in the last year I’ve teamed up with my friend Petter doing a “Winequiz” and tastings where the music plays a major role.
When it comes to writing books in between, I’ve been working with Tommy Myllymäki, writing his two books Såser and Grönsaker.
How did the book title Vin Med Adress (Wine With An Address) come about? , What is it about that term that makes you want to write a book about it?
The title was introduced to me a long time ago by a friend who was selling wine with the slogan “wines with address”. I’ve been using that expression (rather than *terroir*) when I’ve hosted wine tastings to describe a wine that tastes from where it comes from – wines that are impossible to copy anywhere else in the world. When I figured out that I wanted to do a proper wine book focusing on *terroir*, which was very clear from the start, that name seemed to fit very well.
The ten addresses you present are rather precise, yet in some cases surprising. How did you pick them, were there more addresses or regions that didn’t make the final cut?
My long list also included places like Beaujolais, Jura, Swartland, Pfalz and Santa Barbara, but I ended up with those that I have a strong personal relationship with like a “My Best Friend” book you had as a kid. There are definitely more regions than these ten that I would love to write about and which all deserve attention. There’s room for a follow up!
What, in your opinion, is special about the ten regions of your choice? Are there collective words to explain them, or are they all very different stories?
The criteria for the addresses presented in book is that the wines have a true unique character, only found in that restricted area. The stories are different, for many reasons – some of them have a long history, like Madeira, and some are areas just reinvented, like Etna. My personal stories and relationships to these places also vary. I have visited most of them, but not all. Chinon, for instance, is very close to my heart but I have never been there. Our relationship is built on bottles and dreams.
There are great photos in the book, you seem to have thought a lot about every image. Who are your photographers and what does your working relationship look like?
Many wine books look the same. A vineyard is vineyard is a vineyard. That doesn’t mean the places look, feel or smell the same. The idea was to create one unique picture per chapter that “smelled” of the address. The brilliant food stylist Tove Nilsson and famous food photograper Roland Persson did a fantastic job. Since I’m a fan of bottle labels we also tried to picture as many of the included bottles we could in one or two photos.
The graphics in the book, the tutorial aspect and the recipes, are they collaborations too? And as they seem to be a very important component of the book what is your opinion on it?
Yes, a very important part of the book is the artwork and illustrations of the Kühlhorn team. Since we used very few pictures, the art work, maps and symbols play an important role. It also makes the book easy to navigate and easy to read. When it comes to recipes, they’re all collected from my own kitchen or dining experiences.
You pair the wines in the book with food from ”the same street”? It seem like a an open goal, but there is something very true and real about it. Please elaborate…
It’s a good start. Pick a traditional dish from the region and then try it with the wine. You’re not likely to go wrong. My personal taste, as can be found in the recipes, also include a lot of Swedish home cooking and international fast food.
What is the future for the general wine interest in Sweden, do you reckon it will continue to grow?
It’s growing! Thanks to a bubbling microbrewery scene, many young people also get into wine, especially organic and natural wines. There’s a new generation of winemakers and a new generation of wine drinkers coming, it has just started here in Sweden. We have a long tradition of not drinking wine in this country but we are pretty quick to pick up new trends, like organic products.
Do you have a take on the future of Systembolaget’s monopoly and do you foresee any other coming trends?
Not really. I think the monopoly has done a good job recently in trying to release many small producers’ products twice a month, but there is still a lot of things to do to keep the market happy. I personally hope they will differentiate their business by setting up different stores for different products and different clients.
Christmas and New Years are dawning upon us, please give us a few suggestions to pair with traditional Swedish Christmas food and a couple of great tips to accompany the fireworks that will celebrate the coming of 2016!
For the traditional Swedish Christmas food, my picks are Mosel Riesling, dry to off dry, and Madeira, especially for the nuts and sweets. And don’t forget the beer and the snaps! For New Years Eve, drink your expensive bottles early and save the party bubbles for the fireworks!
Text: Pär Strömberg
Image: Fredrik Skogkvist och Natur & Kultur