Sekt: German Sparkling Wine
I know you might be surprised to find out that Germany produces sparkling wines as Germany is generally perceived as a country of beer drinkers. But, it turns out that Germany has the highest per capita consumption of sparkling wine in the world and sparkling wine is sipped regularly among the Germans. While most Sekt is produced by large sparkling wine houses and caters to the mass market, there are many vintners that produce small quantities of Sekt, made according to the traditional champagne method. The most commonly used grape is Riesling, but some vintners have been very successful with Chardonnay and Rosé style sparklers made from Pinot Noir.
Sekt is made in all German wine regions, both in the méthode traditionnelle and charmat method. The most common styles are Brut (dry) and Trocken (off dry), but sweeter styles are made as well (demi-sec or doux).
Needless to say, these sparkling wines are very hard to find outside of Germany. However, I was able to round up seven bottles. I found one at Trader Joe’s, one at Cost Plus Worldmarket, and the rest at an online direct importer and wholesaler of limited production German wines; www.trulyfinewine.com.
Overall, I found the sparkling wines to be on the sweeter side and lacking bubbles and depth.
That said, there were a couple that I would drink again, including:
- Barth Riesling Sekt – Brut; $22 (Truly Fine Wine)
- Barth Pinot Blanc Sekt – Brut; $24 (Truly Fine Wine)
- Barth Pinot Noir Rosé Sekt – Brut; $25 (Truly Fine Wine)
- Barth Blanc de Noir Sekt (ULTRA) - Extra Brut; ($40, Truly Fine Wine)
The ones above had some flavor to them. They kind of tasted like wine with some bubbles rather than a sparkling wine (especially the Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir Rosé). The Ultra was very unique and tasted like a layering a flavors that kept thing interesting, while the Riesling was sweeter but in a pleasant way that would be a good match with a strong cheese or dessert (apple strudel anyone?). I think the above Sekts definitely have their place at the table and I can see how they would compliment heavy German food. I would “drink” them again, but I would not “buy” them again.
There were also a couple that I would NOT drink again:
- Silbereis Sekt ($21, World Market)
- Schloss Beibrich; ($7, Trader Joe’s)
- Ohlig Riesling Sekt - Semi-dry; $15 (Truly Fine Wine)
The ones above were sweet and somewhat thin. The first two were literally clear with barely any color and with an off-putting aftertaste. They weren’t good sippers and I couldn’t even think of any food that could help them out to be considered drinkable. The last one was simply too sweet for my tastes, and lacked character.
* The prices above include tax and shipping (if applicable).
In conclusion, I think Sekt certainly has its place but for the price there are other sparkling wines that I enjoy more and that are more convenient to purchase.
In all honesty, when I am craving something German, I think the first things I reach for will be a pretzel and a German beer.
Sidebar: Speaking of pretzels, I made some awesome homemade, German-style pretzels the other night. Email me if you’d like the recipe.
(Cheers in German)