Jamie Goode and Treve Ring explore Sekt, Germany's sparkling wine
Part 4: Raumland

Volker Raumland (pictured above) is one of the stars of high quality traditionnelle flaschengärung Sekt in Germany. He made his first sparkling wine back in 1981 when he was studying in Gieshenheim. When he finished his studies, he began to offer his services at Fersektung, the German term for turning base wine into sparkling wine. Raumland’s lucrative Sekt specialist business catered to wineries not able to invest in an in-house sparkling program, and brought him more than 100 clients. He later bought a small house with 6 hectares of vines, then got 6 hectares from parents and leased a further 10 hectares to create the current Raumland vineyard sources. The Sekthouse Raumland began in 1990, and is based in the Rheinhessen region.

Raumland focuses solely on traditional method sparkling wine. It seems that the best Sekt producers are the ones who just do fizz, because it requires a particular way of thinking.

Raumland has moved to organics, and since 2002 has been certified, but not labelled as such. Production is 100 000 bottles per year.

Whereas some Sekt producers are looking to make fruity sparkling wines that express that side of Riesling, Raumland is looking to make something more complex, and more akin to vintage Champagne. He has planted mainly Pinot Noir, along with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, though also works with Riesling and Pinot Blanc. ‘I hate primary fruit in sparkling,’ says Raumland, ‘and I love the toast and bread notes from long ageing on the lees.’ His wines have a minimum 3 years on the lees for first tier. Prestige is minimum 6 years on the lees, while his vintage level is 10 years on the lees or more. He adds, ‘We are a young company but we are still very traditional.’ Raumland is critically considered to be one of the top quality Sekt producers in Germany.

Goode Notes

Raumland Cuvée Katharina Brut 2012
Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier with some oak in the base wine fermentation. 3-4 g/l sugar, disgorged March 2016. Very pure, direct nose. Lovely pear and apple fruit character here with a touch of toastiness. Some warm herbal notes. Ripe and fruity with a bit of toasty development. Nice fruit expression. 88/100

Raumland Riesling Prestige Brut 2008
The malolactic stopped half-way, so we have 10.2 g of acid and 6 g of residual sugar here. Single vineyard in Pfalz. Limestone soils. Linear, pure and tight with astonishing acidity. Subtle waxy hints indicate the age of the wine, with a hint of cheese and toast, but the driving force is piercing lemony fruit. Tangy and bright with some ripe apple notes, too. So distinctive. 91/100

Raumland Riesling Prestige Brut 2012
Dosage 3 g/l. Lovely matchstick/mineral nose. Citrussy and direct with a pithy, mineral, lemony palate. Very fruity with a hint of melon. Nice richness to the fruit. 90/100

Raumland Cuvée Marie-Louise Brut 2012
From Pinot Noir, dosage 3 g/l. Lively cherries, citrus and pear with nice precision. Lovely pure fruit: direct with high acidity. Linear and pithy with some bitterness. 88/100

Raumland Chardonnay Prestige Brut 2009
Very pure and direct with lovely pear and lemon fruit. Very clean and focused with good acidity and a deliciously focused, linear core of fruit. Great acidity here. Not overly complex but nicely direct and fruity. 90/100

Raumland Triumvirat Grand Cuvée Brut 2009
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, first made in 2001. Less than 3 g/l sugar and acidity around 7. 6 years on lees, 6 months on cork. Some of the wine is fermented in barrels, mostly barriques, but also some 350 litre barrels. Lively, powerful, pithy and a bit waxy with very bold citrus and pear notes, as well as honey and almond notes. Very linear with good acidity. Has real precision and depth with some red cherry and pear on the finish. 91/100

Ring Notes

Raumland Cuvée Katharina Brut 2012
Salty, with fine earth, savoury biscuit and cherry notes hallmarking this Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier blend. Cherry and pear dominate, and a fine line of acid holds the whole taught to the toasty finish. Lovely balance. Disgorged march 2016. 89/100

Raumland Riesling Prestige Brut 2008
Savoury throughout, with large flake sea salt, stones, biscuit and yellow apple shaped with the razor cut of Riesling on limestone. The pervading freshness was contributed to MLF stopping on its own this year. Linear and streaming, with citrus pith on the brisk, lingering finish. A beaut; this has aged very well. Disgorged march 2016. 10.2 TA. 6 g/l RS. 91/100

Raumland Riesling Prestigue Brut 2012
Crisp lemon, pith and peel, is shaded with appealing biscuit and light toast, coloured with the sweet warmth of tangerine pith. Fine smoke, savoury herbs and a finer fog of autolysis pad this serious and well structured, if a touch severe, brut. Mineral salts linger. 3 g/l RS. 90/100

Raumland Chardonnay Prestige Brut 2009
A small amount of this chardonnay brut spent time in barrique, which is apparent through the biscuit and cracker notes weaving throughout pure and shining green apple and lemon. A fine buzz of acidity frames this tight, bone dry fizz, finishing with bitter citrus pith. Presenting youthful still, this will settle more with time in the bottle, 3-4 g/l RS. Disgorged March 2016. 89/100

Raumland Triumvirat Grand Cuvée Brut 2009
The Triumvirat Grand Cuvee is a brut blend of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier, and a premium bottling from Raumland. Light smoke, light biscuit and fennel is broken by crunchy acidity and large flake sea salt. The palate leads with lox and toasty spice before introducing light cherry and red pear, finishing with a raspy, almost assertive acidity. Fermented in barriques and barrels before more than 7 years on the lees, this could pass for a decent supermarket-bottled Champagne in a blind tasting. 91/100


Wines tasted 09/16  
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