Jamie Goode and Treve Ring explore Sekt, Germany's sparkling wine
Part 8: the grand Sekt tasting

This was an in depth look at some of Germany’s best traditional method sparkling wines. It was a rare opportunity to try so many together. We found plenty to like, and the quality was consistently high. In addition to these notes, we included reviews with our profiles of five leading producers, Reichsrat Von Buhl, Sekthaus Raumland, Sekthaus Solter, Strauch Sektmanufaktur and Schloss Vaux.

Notes are from Jamie Goode (JG) and Treve Ring (TR)

Schönleber Riesling Extra Brut 2013 Rheingau, Germany
Very fruity and bright with lovely open lemony fruit. Very expressive and pure with lovely precision and a generous fruity quality. Such balance and purity here: lovely wine. (JG) 90/100

Bright pear, fresh and creamy on the palate, is scented with lovely anise. Focused, crisp and dry through the finish, lingering with dried pear and dried apple and a rinse of pith. (TR) 91/100

Schlossgut Diel Dorsheim Goldloch Riesling Brut Nature 2008 Nahe, Germany
Complex and intense with lovely crisp citrus fruits complemented by richer melon and marmalade characters, together with some toast. Crisp and pithy with real weight to the fruit. Very lively and intense, this catches the character of Riesling really well. (JG) 91/100

Light white grapefruit pith leads into light smoked stones. Lemon pith drives this finessed, fine and focused lighter-bodied sekt. White flowers linger on the finish. (TR) 90/100

Frank John Riesling Sekt Brut 2012 Pfalz, Germany
Biodynamic. Complex and with some delicious herb and toast notes. Lovely weight on the palate with some ripe apple and lemon fruit. Really harmonious, detailed and with well integrated acidity. Lovely balance to this wine, which is really serious. Rich but fresh. (JG) 92/100

Demeter certified, this leads with apple cider before dried apples enter in. A fine bead of acidity carves out enough precision here to carry even the Pfalz' richer fruit palate. (TR) 90/100

Schloss Wachenheim Edition Riesling Crémant Brut 2014 Pfalz, Germany
Tight, lemony and toasty with nice weight of pear, white peach and spicy citrus fruit. Really attractive fruit here with a grippy, pithy finish. Lovely weight and focus. (JG) 89/100

You'll often see traditional method sekt from the Pfalz going with the EU-sanctioned Cremant name. Here, one of the Pfalz' biggest sekt-makers brings riper, warmer and round notes, with dried apples and dried apricots dominating. A fuller and riper style common from the Pfalz, though this carries a strong line of acidity to carry. Somewhat rustic on the finish. (TR) 88/100

Bamberger Brut Nature Réserve Riesling 2010 Nahe, Germany
Herby, pithy edge to the palate. Bright with some structured lemony fruit and a hint of wax. Nice linear fruit here: compact and dense with lovely apple and lemon fruit. Concentrated and quite serious. (JG) 90/100

This Nahe fizz is brut nature, with the fine, crisp acidity framing this dry riesling. Toasted warm spices, dried apple and  ginger notes linger on the lengthy finish. (TR) 90/100

Bamberger Riesling Brut 2011 Nahe, Germany
Fresh and fruity with lovely citrus peel and lemon notes. Nice depth of fruit here: this is really expressive and fruity with an appealing sweet citrus character. (JG) 90/100

Fine yellow fruits are based on quince and streaked with anise in this Nahe brut. Eraser, ripe pear, yellow apple are easily carried by a great line of acidity and textured with fine spicing. Lovely drive. (TR) 91/100

Bamberger Riesling Brut 2012 Nahe, Germany
Distinctive, vivid herby lemon fruit here. Pithy and open with a slight bitterness. Needs time to open up. Crisp, herbal and lemony. (JG) 87/100

This vintage of Bamberger's Nahe Riesling Brut sees slightly sweeter and riper pear, yellow apple to a rounder palate. Acidity is still strong, but not as finessed and integrated as the 2011. (TR) 88/100

Sektkellerei Bardong Riesling Erbach Honigberg Extra Brut 2012 Rheingau, Germany
Rounded and fruity and bright with pleasant open citrus and herb characters. Expressive and fruity with nice weight. Very fruity with good acidity. (JG) 88/100

Light smoked stone creases the pear, anise and fine herbal notes of this extra brut fizz. Stonework, pear, apple and moderate acidity are well integrated, finishing with a distinct weed note. A characterful wine. (TR) 91/100

Erich Stachel Riesling Extra Trocken 2014 Pfalz, Germany
Very appealing, refined lemony nose. The palate shows dense, sweet fruit with lovely purity. Lemons, apples and grapes here: really rounded and attractive with lovely fruitiness. Quite delicious and a little sweet. (JG) 89/100

An anise haze lingers on this ripe and round extra trocken sekt. Sweetness is well handled by the line of orange pith, pear skin and yellow apple. A shallow buzz of acidity on the finish. (TR) 89/100

Bernard-Massard Riesling Crémant Saarkristal Extra Trocken 2014 Germany
Very open, fruity and generous with grapes and lemons. Pure with some sweetness. Simple and fun. (JG)  87/100

Sweeter styled, with dried apple and yellow fruits dominating. Brisk acid finishes frothy on the finish. (TR) 88/100

Bardong Chardonnay Brut 2007 Rheingau, Germany
Open nose of sweet peach and cabbage. The palate is developed with ripe apple and some toast and cabbage characters. A bit of sweetness, too, and a touch of rhubarb. (JG) 84/100

Ripe chardonnay is looking tired here, with dried apple leading the round and fleshy palate. A nice layer of autolytic-led nuts ends with a big grip and a chew of caramel. (TR) 85/100

Weingut Braunewell François Chardonnay Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs NV Rheinhessen, Germany
Subtle herby edge to the lovely apple and lemon fruit. Very stylish: plenty of flavour, and some development, but also lovely finesse and freshness. Complex and delicious. 93/100

Unique in its herbal anise, exotic lime leaf scent, and impressive for its drive and focus. Herbal citrus buzzes through the finish. Fresh, interesting. (TR) 91/100

Riffel Pinot Noir & Chardonnay Brut 2008 Rheinhessen, Germany
Lovely ripe fruit here with nice generous pear and spice, with some ripe apple, a bit of melon and some citrussy bite. Finishes quite pithy. A rich style. (JG) 89/100

Showing age. Hazelnut, light dough cominates the fuller palate, though a line of lemon curd acidity is strong, finishing with a pithy buzz. Drink now for a good example of aged Sekt. (TR) 89/100

Schätzle Pinot & Chardonnay Brut 2010 Baden, Germany
Toasty and rich on the nose. Bold pear and citrus fruit palate with nice pithy bitterness providing a counter. Fruity and lively with nice brightness. Quite developed. (JG) 87/100

Dough, nuts, biscuits, toast and dried apple are shaped by a fist of acidity, though the leesy autolytics overpower and feel somewhat disjointed. If you are wanting a fuller, richer style to pair with study roasted turkey or poultry, this chardonnay/pinot noir blend may suit. (TR) 87/100

Ralph Anton Pinot Blanc de Noir Sekt Extra Trocken Kirrweiler Mandelhöhe 2014 Pfalz, Germany
Generous and ripe with rich apple and pear fruit. Bold and quite sweet with lovely depth of fruit. Very rich and generous and quite sweet in flavour. (JG) 90/100

Sweeter dried apple, dried pear are mitigated with a persistant line of grippy orange acidity. Some pretty florals scent the finish. (TR) 88/100

EZG Winzersekt Chardonnay Extra Trocken 2014 Rheinhessen, Germany
Ripe and sweetly fruited with lovely generous pear and citrus fruit, together with subtle toast and nut character. Tastes quite sweet with generous fruit at its core. (JG) 88/100

Perfumed white florals, lemon blossom lead this pretty and aromatic extra trocken chardy sekt. Tight crystalline lemon acidity works well to match off the citrus and pear fruit. (TR) 88/100

Bergdolt Klostergut St Lamprecht Weissburgunder Extra Brut 2013 Pfalz, Germany
Fruity and lively with nice citrus and pear notes. Has a herby quality and some sweetness. There’s a pithy note, too. Quite angular on the finish but with nice density. (JG) 87/100

Highly aromatic, with smoked pear, rich quince and baked yellow apple padding this Pfalz Weissburgunder fizz. A fine, though firm bead of acidity carries the fruit through the finish. (TR) 88/100

Weinbiet Weissburgunder Esselhaut Brut 2014 Pfalz, Germany
Really pretty, lively fruit here: has a hint of pith, white plum and pear fruit with lovely rounded texture and depth. Lovely freshness and some nice candied fruits on the finish. A really stylish ripe style. (JG) 91/100

Very perfumed, with pink florals cut with fine lime peel acidity. This Weissburgunder comes across as a touch sweet and sour, though finishes pleasantly enough with a riff of grapefruit. (TR) 87/100

Villa Heynburg Crémant Weissburgunder Brut 2014 Baden, Germany
Clean, fruity and pure with lively pear and citrus fruit. Nice freshness and fruit purity. An attractive, fresh, fruity style with nice purity. (JG) 88/100

A Weissburgunder brut from Baden, with fleshy peach, white peach and light roses, brightened with a fine line of limey acidity. Orange sherbet and tangerine pith grip on the finish. (TR) 89/100

Diel Cuvée MO Brut Nature Pinot Blanc & Pinot Noir 2008 Nahe, Germany
Really dense and complex with grippy, pithy, herb-tinged quince and lemon fruit, with a bitter lime oil edge. Structured and powerful with nice weight of fruit. Finishes dry and pithy. (JG) 89/100

Dominated by light toast, smoke and dough. Earthy and a touch sharp, this tight fizz finishes with bitter lime. A little bit of fruit sweetness would have suited this Brut Nature well. (TR) 87/100

Aldinger Brut Nature 2009 Württemberg, Germany
Equal parts blend of the Champagne varieties. Lively and herby with a slight vegetal edge to the nicely toasty citrus fruit. It’s really distinctive and quite pretty, with nice toast and apple notes on the palate as well as some cherry and herb characters. Lovely depth. (JG) 91/100 

Matthias Gaul Mademoiselle Anne Zero Dosage NV Rheinhessen, Germany
Very fresh and pure with nice apple and lemon fruit, as well as subtle toastiness. Lovely fruit quality here: I really like the fruit focus and harmony, with a nice dry character to it. Still quite generous because of the fruit ripeness. 92/100

Griesel & Compagnie Rosé Extra Brut 2013 Hessische-Bergstrasse, Germany
Pale coloured. Distinctive, herby, slightly bitter raspberry and lemon fruit. A little odd. (JG) 84/100

Very small producer, smallest wine region in Germany. Crystalline fruits. Light raspberry, roses. Dry and bright and riffing acidity. Bacon notes. Lovely hum on the finish. Lively. (TR) 87/100

Bergdolt Klostergut St. Lamprecht Spätburguder Rosé Cuvée Special 2011 Pfalz, Germany
Pale pink colour. Slightly meaty with a spicy edge to the fresh, tart citrus and cranberry fruit. Grippy and foucsed with a savoury, herby edge. (JG) 87/100

Gentle dough and cherry, lead this bright and fine fizz, one driven by lovely pithy grapefruit and tightened with green apple. A lightly bitter note overtakes the pithy finish. (TR) 88/100

Gerhard Aenis Pinot Rosé Brut 2014 Baden, Germany
Organic. Bright pink colour. Fresh, lively and fruity with cherries and tangerines. Very bright, fruity style with nice purity and focus. Very pretty and lively. 89/100

Hex vom Dasenstein Pinot Rosé Trocken 2014 Baden, Germany
Bright pink in colour. Sweet and fruity with ripe cherry and plum fruit. Lovely sweetness to the fruit: this is a real crowd pleaser. Lovely purity. (JG) 88/100

Raspberry jam, fresh strawberries are brightened with a hum of tight acidity. Nice drive throughout to a snappy finish. (TR) 88/100

Braunewell Hommage 1816 Sylvaner Brut 2013 Rheinhessen, Germany
A cuvée produced to celebrate 200 years of the region. Very fruity and lively with lovely purity to the herb-tinged citrus fruits. Has some melony richness, too, and a touch of pithiness. Very appealing with lovely depth of fruit. Real focus to this wine. (JG) 90/100

Sylvaner lends an herbal line of lemongrass, white pepper and salts to this tight and bright brut. A great riff of pithy pink grapefruit acidity hums with fine acids. Distinct and characterful. (TR) 89/100

Nicole Graeber Gelber Muskateller Brut Nature 2014 Pfalz, Germany
Beautifully aromatic and very fruity with pure grape, pear and herb notes. Very lively with a citrussy edge to the fruit. Some mandarin, too. Lovely fruit to this wine, with great balance and purity. Dry but with attractive fruit. (JG) 90/100

Highly perfumed with roses and fleshy peach countered by grippy acidity and seasoned with spices. Brut Nature, this presents with a sweetness gifted by the ample perfume of muscat. (TR) 88/100

Winzer Sommerach Silvaner Crémant Brut NV Franken, Germany
Lovely generous fruit here: white peach, pear and a hint of melon. Subtle herby notes and nice density of fruit. Very attractive and pure. Subtle pithiness, too. (JG) 89/100

Distinctly sour beer in aroma, this Franken silvaner brut carries on to baked yellow apple, baked pear and ginger spices. Ripe and round, and disjointed to the short finish. (TR) 85/100

Doreas Muskat-Trollinger Rosé Prélude Brut 2014 Württemberg, Germany
Very pale pink. Very pretty with a slight strawberry jelly and grape edge to the pear fruit. Has lovely texture and it’s generous and easy with nice lively fruitiness. Great balance to this wine. (JG) 89/100

A lovely herbal wild flower note is well balanced by a tight riff of acidity. Orange pith, tangerine and mandarine oil line the palate, finishing with perfumed pear and a gentle grip of pear skin.  An interesting rosé of Muskat and Trollinger. (TR) 88/100

Weingut Winterling 2014 Blanc de Blancs Cremant brut
Certified organic, this 100% Chardonnay spent 15 months on the lees and is bottled with very low sulfites. Crisp and bright, with green apple and fine cream on the palate, finishing with a lick of anise. Lively. (TR) 89/100

Weingut Winterling 2014 Riesling Cremant brut
Bright with lime leaf to open onto a round, generous and cushioned palate, reflective of the base wines’ time spent in wood. A fresh, pithy lemon lingers on the finish. (TR) 88/100

Weingut Winterling 2014 Fleur de Rosé Cremant
75% Spatburgunder and 25% Chardonnay yield a very pale pink hue, with strawberries and light cherry carries along a fine creamy palate. The Spatburgunder was aged in barrels prior to secondary fermentation, lending some depth to the palate. Acidity bright, with light tannins framing the whole. (TR) 90/100

Weingut Winterling Blanc de Blancs S brut
Riesling, Weissburgunder and Gewurztraminer were wild fermented in large wooden barrels before spending 15 months there on the lees. Very floral, with white blossom, peach and anise dominating this fruity fizz. Finishes with a gentle sweetnesss at 6g/l. (TR) 88/100

Weingut Winterling 2014 Sommerling
Quite distinctive, this is a blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Riesling, targeted solely at summer tourist season and with 8000 bottles/annual production. It has proven so popular they are actively looking to purchase more land to plant additional Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The winery places dry ice (frozen CO2) into the empty press and tanks before the fruit to remove any contact with oxygen, preserving Sauvignon’s character. Here green, grass and passionfruit leap from the glass, with pithy tangerine spicing on the finish. Bright and juicy, and one of the most successful sparkling Sauvignon’s I’ve tasted. New Zealand, take note. (TR) 90/100

Wilhelmshof 2012 Blanc de Noir brut
Whole bunch Pinot Noir is used in this Blanc de Noir, with the winery finding that acidity is 1-2 g/l higher using whole bunch pressing. Earthy red apple and gooseberry jostle on a looser and watery palate. The finish is slightly harsh with raspberry and red grapefruit pith. (TR) 87/100

Wilhelmshof 2009 Patina Blanc de Noir brut
Fresh apple is cut with apple cider sharpness, leading into fruity notes of orange, yellow apple, and melon. Biscuit and pear take over on the fresh palate, one that lingers with pretty floral perfume on the finish. Still quite fresh and alive. (TR) 88/100


Wines tasted 09/16  
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