Jamie Goode and Treve Ring explore Sekt, Germany's sparkling wine
Part 5: Strauch Sektmanufaktur


Strauch, in the Rheinhessen, is a relatively new sparkling wine producer. Isabelle and Tim Weissbach are the young couple behind this quality venture, which debuted in 2011, in the cellar of what was previously the Sektellerei Dalbergerhof. Tim showed us the impressive disgorging and bottling line that they brought from Champagne, which is much bigger and better than they really need, but they see it as an investment for the future.

‘We don’t want to copy Champagne but we take it as a benchmark,’ says Tim. ‘They have the best marketing: it is unbelievable – everyone wants to drink Champagne. But 100 years ago Sekt was in that position, and all the big houses in Champagne had German influence. We brought the knowledge to Champagne.’

They are specialists, so as well as making their own wines, they pay the bills by taking others’ base wines and transforming them into Sekt. ‘We are lucky making sparkling wine for other wineries because we have good contact with other wineries and have the chance to taste a lot of good stuff,’ says Tim. Their own wines are made from their 25 hectares of estate-grown grapes, and Strauch is fully organic.


Tim thinks it’s important to focus on Sekt if you want to make the best quality wines. ‘When we decided to focus on sparkling wine, we decided to pick and press only for this goal. There was a huge step up in quality,’ says Tim. ‘Most people who make sparkling wine make all their wines, then they decide in February which wines to use for sparkling wine. You see a big difference between the wineries who focus on Sekt and those who just make a bit.’

Tim is keen on Riesling. ‘For me Riesling is perfect for sparkling wine. You have the acidity and the typical aromas of Riesling. The Chardonnays and Pinots ripen early while the Riesling ripens later. It works. For me it is fantastic. We sell sparkling Riesling like crazy.’ The winery also makes a Brut Nature Riesling Sekt that was sold out when we visited, but a style that Tim plans on making more of.


He thinks that more wineries in Germany should focus on Sekt. At the moment there are around 10. But he acknowledges that it isn’t an easy course to take. ‘There is a huge amount of money involved and it is high risk. You don’t see your money for three years.’

Goode Notes

Strauch Riesling Extra Brut 40 Monate NV Rheinhessen, Germany
2.7 g/l sugar. 2012 vintage. Very tight and fresh with amazing purity and focus. Great acidity here with nice purity and grippy lemony fruit. Lemony and detailed with lovely precision. 92/100

Strauch Pinot Blanc NV Rheinhessen, Germany
2014 vintage. 5 g/litre dosage. Stainless steel ageing for five months. Fresh, lemony and bright with keen acidity. A hint of apple alongside the bright lemon and grapefruit characters. Fresh, focused and intense with a lovely bright acid core. Linear. 91/100

Strauch Blanc de Blancs NV Rheinhessen, Germany
Vintage 2013. Silvaner and Chardonnay, both aged in large wood for 9 months. Sold after 18 months. Really distinctive and slightly herbal with a rounded apple, pear and citrus character. Bright with high acidity and nice focus. Fruity and appley with lovely juicy fruitiness. Quite mineral on the finish. Distinctive. 90/100

Strauch Riesling Brut NV Rheinhessen, Germany
Tim says that this is selling like crazy. Stainless steel-aged. Bottled in January and sold 15 months later. Very crisp, focused and fruity. Lemony and bright with vivid acidity. Very fresh and delightful with lovely lemony fruit the core. So drinkable and fresh with real precision. Captures Riesling beautifully. 90/100

Strauch Rosé Brut NV Rheinhessen, Germany
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Red wine blended in at dosage. Want to have the phenols in the wine for as short as time as possible. Very pale pink. Fresh, linear apples and cherries with fresh cherries and a bit of spiciness. Has some tangerine and pear and apple. Lovely balance with some distinctive fruitiness. Great acidity. Very detailed and fine. 91/100

Strauch Der Michelsberg 2011 Rheinhessen, Germany
A one-hectare clos vineyard on a small hill, with small house on the top giving a view from Mannheim to Frankfurt. Old vine Riesling and Gewürztraminer, half and half this year. Very fruity and lively with grapes, lychees, spice and herbs. Complex, refined and detailed with nice precision and weight. Lovely fruit here: so distinctive and delicious with great balance. Very fine. 92/100

Strauch Cuvée Isabel Demi Sec NV Rheinhessen, Germany
38 g/l dosage. A blend of Morio Muskat, Scheurebe, Bacchus and Gewurztraminer. Very fruity and grapey with lovely ripe, sweet fruit. Generous and pure with good acidity. Grapey and delicious. Clean and pure with good balance. 89/100

Strauch Cuvée Marie-Christin Doux NV Rheinhessen, Germany
55 g/l dosage. Very rich and fresh with delicious grape and apricot fruit. Clean, ripe and tasty with lovely sweetness to the fruit. Quite rounded and delicious in a very sweet style. 88/100

Ring Notes

Strauch Riesling Extra Brut 40 Monate NV Rheinhessen, Germany
40 months on the lees, from the 2012 vintage. Crisp and fresh, with great drive and length. Fine grippy persistence throughout, with lime and white grapefruit pith. No MLF, leaving this Riesling very pure. 2.7 g/l. 91/100

Strauch Pinot Blanc NV Rheinhessen, Germany
From the 2014 vintage, in stainless steel on lees for 5 months. Full MLF, resulting in an easy, lighter drinking bubble, with gentle pear skin, fine white blossom. Still carries a firm line of acidity to a tight riff of pithy citrus on the finish. Lively. 5 g/l. 89/100

Strauch Blanc de Blancs Brut NV Rheinhessen, Germany
2013 vintage. Light cream, fine white florals is broken with crystalline lemon, red apple and light herbal notes. Chardonnay and Silvaner is aged in 2500 L wooden barrels for 9 months. Rounded on the palate, but carries fine and bright acidity. 90/100

Strauch Riesling Brut NV Rheinhessen, Germany
The "cash cow", and a very good seller. All stainless steel, bottled in January following vintage and sold 15 months later. Bright, fresh and fruity, with zippy and zesty lime, lemon, and sherbet. Fine line of vibrant acidity to the finish, rings with Riesling. 89/100

Strauch Rosé Brut NV Rheinhessen, Germany
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, with the red wines blended after the bottle fermentation of Chardonnay (at dosage). Light cherry, roses and perfumed florals are interwoven with quite earthy, mushroom and savoury notes. Broken stones and fine spicing texture the whole. Very fine and precise, but with depth of flavour. Well done. 91/100

Strauch Der Michelsberg 2011 Rheinhessen, Germany
From a one-hectare clos - Der Michelsberg - in the next town over, this is their premium bottling and comes with booklet and box. Highly perfumed lime oil, gooseberry lead this aromatic 50/50 Riesling/Gewurztraminer split (50-60 year old vines) before finishing with finely pithy pink grapefruit and perfumed spices. The finish comes across with bitter lime. There is a disjoint between the floral / fruitiness and weight of Gew, and Riesling’s crisp line of acidity and gossamer nature. 88/100

Strauch Cuvée Isabel Demi Sec NV Rheinhessen, Germany
Named for Tim's wife. Very perfumed gooseberry, lime throughout this ripe, sweet blend of Morio Muscat, Gewurztraminer, Bacchus and Scheurebe. Finishes bright and with light, youthful sweetness. The dosage is a sweet Gewurztraminer, at 38 g/l. 88/100

Strauch Cuvée Marie-Christin Doux NV Rheinhessen, Germany
55 g/l dosage of Siegerrebe. Very weet and ripe, with peach, light anise and lime through the finish. Love the brightness and fresh acidity here, through to the lively, fine finish. The winery has decided to cease production of this wine due to low demand for Doux styles. 89/100


Wines tasted 09/16  
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