Sekt may not be Champagne, but don't fret

I’ve written about cava, prosecco and other sparkling wines, but it occurred to me the other day that I have yet to write a column about sekt.

Though sekt is a German word and the term is associated with German sparkling wine, not all sekt is made from German grapes, as a large portion comes from Hungary and other European countries. However — and I risk offending some Austrians here — the best sekt is made in Germany. To be sure of its Germanic origins, look for the label “Deutscher Sekt.”

The term sekt was first used in 1825, six years after the Treaty of Versailles was signed and forbade Germany from using the word Champagne in reference to its sparkling wines. Unlike the Champenois, who are increasingly protective of their name, attempts to safeguard sekt have largely failed, so there’s tremendous variance is quality. The overwhelming majority is made using the charmat method, where the secondary fermentation occurs in tank as opposed to bottle. The latter method produces finer wines as a rule, and most found in the Bay Area are made this way.

You will also notice that most sekt is made from riesling, though other grapes are permitted. It’s produced in all of Germany’s 13 wine regions, although the Rheingau and Rheinhessen seem to dominate, at least from a quality standpoint.

Sekts can be very dry and often have floral and strong mineral components. When it comes to caviar, nothing other than vodka is a better match. They are perfect with smoked fish, cheeses and as an aperitif.

Fitz Ritter riesling sekt, extra trocken (dry), NV (Rheinhessen, Germany): I’ve always enjoyed Fitz Ritter’s wines. But since 2007, when Johann Fitz took the reins of his family’s 224-year-old winery, the wines have soared. Light-bodied and delicate with pure green apple fruit, this is a tasty treat. Suggested retail: $17

Barth riesling sekt, extra brut, NV (Rheingau, Germany): Barth is a family-run estate smack dab in the middle of the Rheingau. Located in the town of Hattenheim, the property is strewn with 20-year-old vines planted to a variety of white and red grapes. Made entirely from riesling, this “extra brut” is bone dry yet emits a generous portion of tart peach, nectarine and green apple flavors. Suggested retail: $30

Sekthaus Raumland Prestige brut pinot blanc, 2004 (Rheinhessen, Germany): This estate makes other wines, but it’s known for its superb sekts that are made from a variety of grapes. This is an exceptional sparkling wine by any standard. Medium-bodied with cream, almond, hints of chamomile and honey, it can go head to head with many a Champagne. Suggested retail: $47

Pamela S. Busch is the wine director and proprietor of CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen in San Francisco.

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

U.S. Attorney David Anderson announces federal firearms charges against two men for their roles in a March 2019 shooting outside the Fillmore Heritage Center in a news conference alongside SFPD staff at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Departing U.S. attorney predicts corruption probe will continue

David Anderson shook up City Hall as top federal prosecutor

Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, a former school board member, has been asked to help secure an agreement between the school district and teacher’s union. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
 <ins></ins>
Supervisor Walton tapped to mediate teacher contract talks

District and union at odds over hours in-person students should be in the classroom

California is set to receive supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is still under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Courtesy photo)
California could receive 380K doses of new J&J COVID vaccine next week

California could receive 380,300 doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine… Continue reading

Disability advocates protested outside the home of San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon. (Courtesy Brooke Anderson)
Vaccine rollout plan for people with disabilities remains deeply flawed

On February 13, disability activists paid a visit to the house of… Continue reading

A Bay Area Concrete Recycling facility that opened on PG&E property in 2019. Former PG&E employees have been accused of accepting bribes from Bay Area Concrete. (Courtesy of Bay Area Concrete Recycling via ProPublica)
Lawsuit reveals new allegations against PG&E contractor accused of fraud

By Scott Morris Bay City News Foundation Utility giant Pacific Gas &… Continue reading

Most Read