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Next Tuesday is Christmas. I don’t know about you but December’s starting to catch up with me: I might have to explore a series of lower alcohol wines in the new year.
The podcast is finally landing this week. Entirely arbitrarily, I’ve chosen Thursday morning for it to go live. As a reader, you’ll be first to hear about it.
On to this week’s issue, it’s all about Sekt.
Gysler Riesling Brut 2015 from Alexander Gysler (£19, Oddbins) is a single-varietal, biodynamically-grown Sekt from Rheinhessen. It’s got aromas of green apple and lemon rind, with really soft bready notes on the nose. Where I think this really shines, however, is on the palate where some residual sugar really helps bring a harmonious balance to the wine. I’m not usually one to enjoy sweetness in sparkling, so this was a real delight.
The Reichsrat von Buhl winery in Pfalz brought in former Bollinger winemaker, Mathieu Kauffmann, in 2013 to set a new precedent for their sparkling wine. The Riesling Brut (2017 Vintage, £22 from Averys) is the product of that new relationship. Another Riesling-varietal, biodynamic wine, this had a slightly creamier texture than the Gysler with lemon taking far more of the focus in the nose and on the palate.
Finally this week, I tried Solter Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Sekt (€13.16). This felt closest in style to a classic Champagne. The residual sugar was almost non-existent, it’s spent 18 months on lees giving the wine really prominent autolytic notes of sourdough, it carries the blanc de blanc label and is made of predominantly of chardonnay. This was a real treat and especially given its price bracket, incredibly good value for money.
Sekt is the German name for sparkling wine. It’s not a region like Champagne, nor is it restricted to a method of production. Historically, the view of Sekt has been negative but as with most formerly poor wine regions/methods/approaches, quality is definitely on the up.
Bottles labelled simply ‘Sekt’ can be made with grapes from anywhere in the European Union, where as 'Deutscher Sekt’ indicates the base wine has to be German. The 'b.A’ addition to the name, indicates a level of quality greater with only certain grape growing regions allowed. The 'Winzersekt’ label means the wine is single-estate, single-variety wines and often reserved for the highest quality wines.
Sekt can be made either in tank method (like Prosecco) or the traditional method (like English Sparkling and Champagne).
Given the variability in labelling terms, it’s useful sometimes to have a Google of the producer in question to find out what their method of production is and where the grapes are from.
All in all, if you do some research there’s some very good value to be found in Sekt. The vast majority of it doesn’t leave Germany, which also helps when buying in the UK.
I’ve done this before but a reminder due to the mention above. These are wine aromas or flavours driven by the yeast or lees in the wine making process. Lots of white wines and traditional method sparkling wines will be left in contact with the lees during winemaking. The result on flavour can give those aromas of yeast, bread, toast, brioche, cheese, etc that you sometimes will recognise.