Sparkling wines from Germany are not what comes to mind when searching for a bottle of bubbles. However, there are many reasons you should try it.
Sekt is an excellent alternative to the streams of lackluster Prosecco or the extravagantly priced bottles from Champagne. Indigenous grapes, climate, and soils impart exciting, and unique flavor attributes to the wine. German wine is value, too — fizz produced here is rarely priced above $30.
Latitude 50 Degrees North is a reference to the latitude where the vines grow, 50 degrees north, same as Champagne, and the northernmost wine-growing area. This is important, especially with global warming pushing the boundaries of viticulture.
If you want a sparkler with ripe grape flavors, refreshing acidity, and a toasted bread character, what you need is a wine made using the traditional method.
Sekt has a long tradition in Germany. The first sparkling wine houses in the country were founded at the beginning of the 19th century.
What makes Sekt revelatory is that Germans own many Champagne houses, because they were employed by the French to make Champagne. Naturally, they became experts of the craft and became producers in their own right back home.
Superb Wine from a Great Terroir.
This enticing rosé is produced in the Rüdesheim Rhine Valley, along the 50° latitude line. Rüdesheim lies at the foot of the Niederwald on the Rhine River’s northern right bank in the famous Rheingau.
The area is most famous for ageable wine from Riesling, but also grows a sizable amount of red grapes. 50 Degrees North is made with a blend of a couple of those grapes, Pinot Noir (known as spatburgunder), Dörnfelder, and Portugieser from certified organic vineyards. The result is wines with a solid mineral structure and delicate perfumed aromas.
The Perfect Blend of Grapes.
The Pinot Noir is from Weingut Mohr, whose winery is in the village of Lorch in Rheingau. Grapes are hand-harvested from steep vineyards with slate-saturated soils.
Dörnfelder grapes, the most successful German-crossed red wine grape varietal, come from Weingut Rapp in the village of Bad Münter and Stein Ebernburger in Nahe, from his sandstone soil vineyards. The wine is fermented in 25-year-old enormous oak barrels like it has been done for centuries.
Then, you have Portugieser, a region’s autochthonous grape from Schlossmühlenhof in the Rheinhessen, picked from vineyards in the town of Alzey, which have mostly limestone-clay marl.
The wines are stored in each winemaker’s respective cellar until they are shipped to Ohlig for bottling.
Sektkellerei (sparkling wine producer) Ohlig, was founded in 1919 by Anton Ohlig in Rudesheim, Germany, and would be joined later by the Kloss family.
Now in its fourth generation, this house doesn’t own vineyards but produces their Sekt from grapes or wine from their neighbors, including Weingut Carl Ehrhard, Weingut Walter Rapp, Weingut Mohr, and Weingut Schlossmühlenhof.
Collectively, the collaboration acts like a cooperative, reducing the cost of making high-quality traditional method sparkling winemaking it available for all to enjoy.
NOTE: One point I wanted to add is when I opened this bottle, there were tartrate crystals on the cork. Several reasons can contribute to their development, such as transporting and/or storing in freezing conditions, applying cold stabilization, so the wine doesn’t start to referment once bottled, or by storing the wine below 40 degrees as it ages. These reasons have no merit to the flavor of the unopened wine. My bottle was fine. I would like to hear your comments if your bottle contained wine diamonds.
50 Degrees North Rosé Sekt displays a pale pink with a string of tiny beads forming an appealing crown at the rim. On the nose, it’s bright and fragrant with juicy strawberries, wild raspberries, zesty lemon, iron mineral, smoke, and toasted rye bread. On the palate, the wine is dry and lively, with medium alcohol, and a kiss of soft tannin around flavors of youthful berries, pink grapefruit, and hibiscus tea, with hints of cherry blossoms, mineral rock, and crushed salted pretzels.
I loved this wine. It offers bright flavors, making it very versatile on its own or with food. Beautifully balanced, it’s a great ambassador for the style.
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