German Sparkling Wines
25th June 2019
Many of us will associate Germany with fine beers and beer festivals, but did you know that they also consume more sparkling wine on average compared to any other country in the world with figures of around 5 bottles enjoyed per person annually? This impressive consumption figure sits at five times that of the USA and equates to around 3 million hectolitres which in turn works out to be a volume of around 10,000 Olympic swimming pools – The size of Germany’s thirst for fizz means that a lot of it’s home produced sparkling wine is initially purchased as wine from abroad and then given its bubbles on German soil.
In relation to production then Germany also performs very well sitting in third place for the amount produced annually (15% of total production) behind leaders France and second place Italy. Much of this wine produced is of lower alcohol level (thank goodness for their health) and there is only a small proportion of sparkling wines grown in vineyards and produced within the country though apparently this trend is starting to grow.
So some facts about German sparkling wines:
- Sekt you will see on many bottles and written when you research German sparkling wines – It is the German for sparkling wine!
- Sekt will usually on average be a bit sweeter and lower in alcohol content compared to other well know sparkling wines such as Champagne.
- Most Sekt will be produced via the Charmant method.
- There are approximately 2,000 producers of Sekt in Germany.
- Riesling grape is the most frequently used for making sparkling wine in Germany.
Styles of German sparkling wine:
- Sekt: Cheaper produced sparkling wine, usually lower alcohol level and grape juice purchased from abroad usually goes in to making it.
- German Sekt: Here you will have pretty much the same standard as Sekt, though you are assured that the wine comes from Germany grape production not abroad.
- German Sekt b.A.: Improvement from German Sekt in that the wine is made within a protected and classified wine growing region from the 13 official German wines regions.
- Winzersekt: Even more details on the production method are shared here where the grape variety, the production year and method are stated as well as the wine having to be grown and produced within the same region as stated.
It is also important to remember, if you are venturing in to the world of sparkling wines, that many Germans ventured over to France and specifically the Champagne region to study and learn the art of making fizz which led to many staying there and forming some of the now most well know labels such as Piper Heidsieck, Mumm, Krug and Bollinger.
German sparkling wines are still not as popular regarding exportation compared to the likes of Prosecco, Champagne, Cava etc. The German’s tend to drink what they produce (sound common sense) and over 80% that is made in Germany is also consumed there, though exportation figures are growing and great excitement is bubbling away in expectations that there is a whole new world of great fizz yet to be discovered by those outside of the country. Though German sparkling wine is to a degree quite mixed in its reputation, known for cheaper and poorer quality of sparkling wine (Sekt) and known for producing some finer quality labels, it is expected that we will be seeing more German fizz for sale across Europe and beyond.
We wanted to put the German sparkling wines to the test so we selected four award winning sparkling wines from our library to taste and review:
Oberhofer – Spatlese Cremant Pfalz Chardonnay 2014: “A warm golden colour. Honey, floral, ripe yellow fruits on the nose. Crisp, refreshing, golden fruits, touch of green grass / herbs in flavours. The sparkling wine was most enjoyable and of a great standard.” Visit their website here.
Braunewell Blanc de Blancs Chardonnay Brut Nature: “Touch of honeycomb, floral, dried apricots on the nose. Crisp, touch dry flavours including green fruits, lemon zest, bruised apples and more. Easy to drink and enjoy.” Visit their website here.
F.B. Schönleber Riesling – Spatburgunder Rheingau Creation: “Nose offers golden fruits, honey, herbs, olives and greengage. Touch dry though fine and complex flavours, most pleasing – Touch of citrus, green fruits, brioche, floral and more. This is a gold medal winning wine within the category of ‘Gastronomic’ at The World’s Finest Glass of Bubbly Awards 218.” Visit their website here.
Stengel 30 Cuvee Brut: “Tropical and faint citrus / honey on the nose. Touch of sweetness though overly and annoying, easy to drink and enjoy anytime with yellow and greengage fruits and a delicate honey undertone. Big thumbs up for this bubbly!” Visit their website here.
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.