Jamie Goode and Treve Ring explore Sekt, Germany's sparkling wine
Part 6: Sekthaus Solter

Sekthaus Solter, based in Rüdesheim, are recognized as one of the top producers of Sekt. They were founded in 1988 by Helmut and Verena Solter. Helmut sadly died during harvest 2013, and since then Verena has been carrying on the work. An aside: their estate is famous for being a favoured holiday residence for Johannes Brahms.

As well as making their own wines, Solter also take customers’ base wines and transform them into Sekt, and their client list includes some of the top names in the Rheingau.

They make wines only from their own vineyards, which consists of 8 hectares in the Rheingau region, and these have been farmed organically since 2009, though not certified. Nearly half of their production is Riesling, through they also use Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier and Gewurztraminer. ‘We don’t make a cheap copy of Champagne, we do very high quality sparkling wine,’ explains Betty Enchelmaier-Tietz, who is responsible for sales and exports.


‘A lot of sparkling winemakers buy grapes,’ she says. ‘But unless you have quality in the vineyards you can’t make good wine.’ Part of the problem with Sekt has been that it’s something people have done as a second thought. They need a sparkling wine, so they select one of their tanks of still wine and use it as a base, sending it off to be processed by a Sekt factory. Solter maintain that you need to work your vineyards specifically for Sekt production. It’s different to making still wines.

Another problem is that it’s hard for customers to tell the difference between different quality levels of sekt. ‘It is horrible,’ she says. (From the label) “you can’t distinguish between good Sekt and cheap Sekt.’

The Solter wines are highly regarded, and recently they won best German sparkling wine in the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships. They only do Brut and Extra Brut styles, export a quarter of their production, which depends on the year but is usually 40 000-60 000 bottles.

Goode Notes

Solter Brut Blanc de Blancs Sekt NV Germany
NV but this version is 2013. Fresh and lively with nice lemony fruit. Bone dry (no dosage) with crisp lemony fruit and lovely brightness. There’s a pithy edge to the palate. Great acidity here. 90/100

Solter Riesling Sekt NV Germany
2012 vintage. 6.9 g/l residual sugar. Very attractive lemony fruit with a hint of mint to the crisp palate. Subtly herbal and very pure. Faint hint of toastiness, with lovely white peach and spice notes alongside the pure fruit. Lovely, distinctive wine. 91/100

Solter Pinot Noir Pinot Noir Rosé Sekt NV Germany
8.6 g/litre sugar. 100% Pinot Noir, 2012 vintage. Very pale pink colour. Delicate with a creamy, slightly dairy edge to the fresh cherry and strawberry fruit. Textured and focused at the same time with nice precision. Has a lovely rounded texture and some bready notes. Lovely purity and focus here. 90/100

Solter Cuvée Henri Réserve NV Germany
25% Pinot Noir, 2011; 20 Chardonay 2011; 20% Pinot Blanc, 2011; 20% 2009 Pinot Gris; 10% 2004 Pinot Noir; 5% Chardonnay 2009. 2.6 g/l dosage. Complex, toasty, pithy and intense with lovely richness to the citrus and pear fruit palate. Lovely depth and weight here with freshness and complexity. Really vivid fruit profile. Nice intensity of flavour. 92/100

Solter Riesling Réserve Berg Roseneck 2009 Germany
Disgorged December 2015. 9.3 g/l residual sugar. Highly aromatic with a crystalline citrus character, as well as hints of mint and apricot. Very lemony on the palate with bold, rich fruit. Sweet and intense with lovely intensity and a subtle lime oil edge to the sweet pear and citrus fruit. Complex, rich and yet fresh, this is such a distinctive style of wine. 92/100

Solter Riesling Réserve Berg Roseneck 2005 Germany
Disgorged March 2016. 6.1 g/litre dosage. Tight with crystalline citrus fruits and nice acidity. Precise with subtle toast. Subtle herbal hints with lovely finesse and weight. Lovely weight and power here with nice acidity. A beautiful sparkling expression of Riesling. 93/100

Solter Pinot Cuvée ‘H’ Réserve Sekt 2001 Germany
40% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Blanc, 30% Pinot Gris. Golden colour. Toast, nuts, wax and cabbage on the nose. Rich with some cherry and plums. Bold, toasty and quite developed with some appley notes. Rich and ripe with lovely weight and complexity. 89/100

Ring Notes

Solter Brut Blanc de Blancs Sekt NV Germany
57/43 Chard / PB from the 2013 vintage, labelled NV. Zero dosage. Bright and crisp, tight and dry, with bright lemon and light green apple. Juicy and mouthwatering, trailing to lemon pith. A bit of a warm flush on the finish. 12.5%  8.5 TA, 0.2 RS. 90/100

Solter Brut Rheingau Riesling Sekt NV Germany
Grapes from Rudesheim and Geisneheim, and from the 2012 vintage though labelled as NV. Full and flush in the mouth with juicy lemon, tangerine, light smoke and a brisk flush of acidity. Tangerine pith lingers on the finish. 12.5%, 6.9 RS, 9.1 TA. 89/100

Solter Pinot Noir Pinot Noir Rosé Sekt NV Germany
From the 2012 vintage, this pinot noir fizz has spent 36 months on lees. Sourced from vineyards in Assmannshasen and Rudesheimer Drachenstein. Light peach hue. Smoked stones, smoked berry on the nose. Fuller bodied. Lovely fine line of acidity. Beauty drive and elegance, with a biscuit note on the finish. 12.5%, 8.6 RS, 7.9TA. 90/100

Solter Cuvée Henri Réserve NV Germany
From the 1999 vintage and 2011 vintage. Autolysis is quite evident here, fuller in the mouth, with nuttiness, light caramel, fruit sweetness and peach. Fine white flowers and crystalline lemon / grapefruit and white peach notes. Beautifully brisk and fine on the finish. Impressive complexity (showing some age shades) and intensity. 12%, 2.6 RS, 7.5 TA. 91/100

Solter Riesling Réserve Berg Roseneck 2009 Germany
Lovely fine nose - brioche, lemon, light orange oil. Bright and crisp and lively on the palate, ruled by fine stones yielding ample minerality. The lengthy finish rewards with a pithy grip. Serious stuff. Very pristine and finessed. All from Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck’s steep, quartz and slate. Impressive show of Riesling  without the caricature of the grape. Disgorged december 2015. 12.5%, 9.3 RS, 8.6 TA. 92/100

Solter Riesling Réserve Berg Roseneck 2005 Germany
From Rudesheim Berg Roseneck. Disgorged March 2016. All quartz and slate from steep vineyards, giving crystalline precision and fine structure. Fine nuttiness, light caramelized apple but foregoing sweetness. Crisp lemon pith and stones linger on the extended finish. Beautiful linear form and drive here. Impressive, and with years to go. Disgorged March 2016. 12.5%, 6.1 RS, 7.8TA. 93/100

Solter Pinot Cuvée ‘H’ Réserve Sekt 2001 Germany
H is in homage to Helmut, founder of the estate. 40% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Blanc, 30% Pinot Gris. Hazelnut, dough lead this rich, autolytic and full bodied Sekt, one carpeted with yellow plum and Rainier cherry, and brightened with a strong bead of acidity. Light flush of warmth on the finish, alongside light caramel notes. 12.5%, 5.2 RS, 7.3 TA. 89/100



Wines tasted 09/16  
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