Sparkling Wine Secrets: Germany, Austria, So Africa, Argentina, and Lodi Paired with Fried Chicken for a Bubbly Birthday Bash #WinePW

Clink different with sparkling wine secrets from around the world

Did you know Germany is the largest producer of sparkling wine in the world?  And that they drink more sparkling wine per capita than any other country in the world? In 2014, Germans consumed five bottles of sparkling wine per person — FIVE times the rate in the US! With about  two billion bottles of sparkling wine produced each year worldwide, one fifth are consumed in Germany which translated in 2017 to 400 million bottles of sparkling wine including Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco. In 2017, Germany produced 368.8 million bottles of Sekt– most of which the Germans enjoyed themselves. Austria comes in right behind, drinking four bottles of sparkling wine per person each year. The two countries represent the largest sparkling wine markets in the world, even though in 2020 they place fifth and 24th when it comes to exporting the bubbly:

Both Austria and Germany call sparkling wine Sekt, and it comes in a range of styles from crisp green apple, pear and citrus notes in brut to off-dry styles with notes of baked apples, honey and brioche. 

Looking deeper at the list, you’re likely not surprised to find France, Italy, and Spain in the top three positions. When I reviewed our sparkling wine posts from 2021, I discovered we’d written about French sparkling wine 5x, Italian, 4x, Spanish 2x, and US 1x; find the list with links here.

While I’d love to try sparkling wine fro Singapore, the surprising number four exporter of sparkling wine in 2020, or the Netherlands at timber seven, in addition to wines from Austria and Germany today, we have #7 USA’s Lodi, #14 South Africa, and #19 Argentina. 

Five Sparkling Wines
From Unexpected Places Around the World

Argentina: NV Domaine Bousquet Brut 
Austria: NV Loimer Sekt Methode Traditionelle Brut Rose 
Germany: NV Markus Molitor Brut Sekt
So Africa: 2020 Mulderbosch Sparkling Rose
United States: 2018 Peltier  “Gala” Brut Cuvée, Lodi 

Samples provided for my review.

Menu

  • Gougères (all my wine friends rave about pairing this with bubbles so Sue made them)
  • Langres cheese with Sekt poured on it
  • Baked Brie: double creme Marin brie nestled in ripe pear and pecans with pomegranate paste wrapped in puff pastry
  • Buttermilk Country Spiced Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy

Fried foods pair so well with sparkling wines AND we’re celebrating my birthday! Growing up, for my birthday meal, my mom made chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes. and my dad made gravy plus my dad’s mom made the best fried chicken so this meal connects me with my family on my birthday where I was joined by Sue Hill, her SO John Walsh, Clos Des Amis winemaker Gretel Compton, plus my husband and son.  

Domaine Bousquet organic brut

Argentina: Domaine Bousquet Brut
ABV 12.5% 
SRP $13
Grapes: Organic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Domaine Bousquet has long been a leader in growing organically in Argentina, and now they are pursuing biodynamic practices and Demeter certification. Domaine Bousquet lists certifications on their back labels: organic certification (Ecocert), certified vegan (Veg Argentina), gluten-free and sustainable (Bodegas de Argentina) and made with respect for human and environmental rights (Fair for Life). I look forward to seeing the Demeter certification, and I imagine they will also become a B Corp. It feels good to support a company that is doing it right. 

Made using the Charmat “tank” method using chardonnay (75%) and Pinot Noir (25%) organic grapes, this is a very affordable, very pleasurable bottle of bubbly. Grapes are estate-grown on gravel and sandy soil at 4,000′ in Tupungato and Alto Gualtallary where diurnal fluctuations assist in ripening with acidity. The wine is fermented with selected yeast, and with a second fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The Domaine Bousquet winemaker is  Rodrigo Serrano, and the viticulturalist is Franco Bastia, who you can read more about here. 

Color:  Crystaline gold, very light, pretty, crystal clear. 

Aroma: Green apples, kiwi, unripe pear, white flower, flower pollen. 

Palate: Tart apple, tart lemon, apple at the front of the palate, lemon mid-palate, key lime pie at the back of the palate. There is a creamy sweet quality and a lingering fresh raspberry finish. 

Pairing:  Not my favorite with the Gougères, but fine. The baked brie is fabulous. John felt that this wine was yearning for seafood, or oysters, and I agree. Sue felt that it was perfect with the steamed broccoli. I loved it with the crispy fried chicken. It also went quite nicely with the mashed potatoes and creamy milk gravy. This is a great wine for this meal. 

 

Loimer


Austria: NV Loimer Sekt Methode Traditionelle Brut Rosé Reserve 
ABV 12%
SRP $35
Grapes: Organic Zweigelt, Pinot Noir, Sankt Laurent
Certified Organic by Lacon

In 2003, a group of mostly Austrian winemakers including Fred Loimer “started to think about farming and the way we farmed” to improve the quality of the wines, said Fred Loimer in a 2021 ZOOM webinar. They decided to use biodynamics as a guiding principle. “We learned in 2006 when you talk about biodynamics and organic farming there has to be a certification system at the end” because you can’t just talk the talk; consumers use certifications to know what the winery is really about.

In 2009  they created respekt, a certifying body, and in 2015, they changed the name to “respekt-BIODYN.” Today respekt-BIODYN is honored in the world of biodynamics and they work closely with Demeter, an organization that certifies all kinds of farms, not just vineyards. The 25 member wineries of respekt-BIODYN come from Austria, Germany, Italy and Hungary and have “committed themselves to the goal of producing wines of the highest quality and individuality using biodynamic methods.”

Loimer emphasized that it’s important that quality across the board — from farming to lifestyle–has to be a certain level, and the certification ensures this. Loimer finds certified wines offer higher complexity, they require less sulphur, and he doesn’t  have to wait as long for maturity yet the wines produced have lower alcohol. This means he can harvest a bit earlier which is one of the biggest benefits of biodynamic farming that he’s found. Vineyards are located near the village of Langenlois in the Kamptal region of Austria.

Read more about respekt-BIODYN wines and what winemakers say about the process here.

This was my favorite of the evening, and Gretel agreed. 

Color: Light in color, rose gold, platinum rim, 

Aroma: Alpine meadow, cherry ricola, yeast, raspberry, raspberry danish, 

Palate: Raspberry crossant, rhurbarb, nice earthy quality, great herbal notes, fresh wild raspberry finish which stays on the finish for a very long time. This is very elegant on the palate. 

Pairing: Nice with the Gougères; fine with Langres but doesn’t bring anything; thumbs up with the date with goat cheese; fantastic with the baked brie. The spices in the crust of the fried chicken pop nicely with the wine which was also great with the creamy gravy and the bright broccoli. The wine also followed through to the end of the meal. It was so lovely with the whipped cream and fresh berry dessert. The herbal element in the wine are so nice with the dessert. 

Molitor


Germany: Markus Molitor Molitor Brut Sekt
ABV 12.5%
SRP under $20
Grapes: Organic Riesling 

Imported by Banville Wine Merchants NYC, this Sekt uses the tank method (not the Traditional Method which in Germany is often labeled “Klassische Flaschengärung.”) Because at one time German bubbles weren’t always of the highest quality, this bottle has a quality control test number (in German, the A.P.Nr.).

In 1984, twenty year old Markus Molitor took over his father’s winery following a family tradition of eight generations with the intent “that each vineyard and vintage should express itself in the taste of every single wine.” With 120 hectares located on steep slopes and many of them are planted with old vines, Markus Molitor is the largest privately-owned winery, family-run vineyard in the Mosel region with 75% of his vineyards located in Grand-Cru sites along the Middle Mosel river and 25% are located in the Sarre river region.

Color: Bright light yellow, crystal clear, vibrant light color, beautiful persistent bubbles. 

Aroma: Sulphur, fennel pollen.

Palate: Light delicate nose, fennel, licorice, spicy nose, coriander, cardamon, star anise, white pepper, poached pear. Lots of vivacious bubbles.

Pairing: Vivacious bubbles, pear, quite acidic and palate cleansing. We poured this sparkling wine on this Langres –makes the wine sweet and the cheese super earthy and musty; great combo that boosts both of them. With the baked brie, both are harmonious and satisfying: nutty and creamy and not too sweet the hint of sweetness of pomegranate paste adds a nice fruit. The wine wakes up with food — not that it was dormant but it’s vivacious. With the Gougères very nice addition to the palate. With date stuffed with goat cheese: lovely pairing because the date is sweet but the wine is tart so balance.  The wine is really nice with the chicken. Great with the spices, texture, cream, and flavors of the chicken, potatoes, and gravy. This was John’s favorite wine of the evening.

So Africa sparkling rose from Mulderbosch


So Africa: 2020 Mulderbosch Sparkling Rose
ABV 12.5%
SRP  

Traditional method sparkling wine in South Africa is called “Cap Classique” and can be quite expensive. This wine is made in the charmat method and is quite affordable for a fun alternative to a typ[ical sparkling wine. 

Color: Deep in color, rich in huge, coral pink, salmon pink, not salmon orange

Nose: Orange, tangerine, fresh cranberry, raspberry, white flower

Palate: Fruit forward, not sweet, citrus, cherry, blood orange, fizzy light bubbles, very pleasant, nicely balanced, acidity and fruit. 

Pairing: With Langres, they stab each other in the back! But the baked brie really brings out the nutmeg and you really taste the cheese  and wine works well. Sue loves with the dates — love love lalalalaloves with dates — that is a love affair; Gretel’s favorite also. Wine brings out all the nuances of flavor in the brie dish making it my favorite. Perfect with the fried chicken meal, loving the broccoli, fried chicken and potatoes and gravy. Winner winner chicken dinner! 

Peltier Gala


United States: Peltier  “Gala” Brut cuvée, Lodi CA
ABV 11%

SRP $45

“Because I believe life should be filled with lavish moments!” says owner Gayla Shatz. 

We visited Peltier in Lodi last summer while doing research for Slow Wine Guide. We will be writing more soon about the winery in a feature article about their wines, their wine maker Susanna Rodrigues Vasquez, and their wonderful worm compost facility! 

This vintage wine is made Methode Champenoise from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Color: Rich yellow gold as opposed to crystal gold, it is very gold, kind of like gold jewelry, 

Aroma: Fresh cut flowers, grasses, light yeast, woody, 

Palate: Clay, earth, soil, mineral earth after a rain, very dry, very clean, delta, loamy, rich soil of Lodi, sea grass, ocean breeze, herbal root, 

Gretel: “This is one of the most interesting sparkling wines that I have had because it is so distinct, so very different.” 

Pairing:  With the baked brie, the pear and pecans with pomegranate paste is very elegant and luscious, and really works with the pecans; beautiful! Loves the cheese crusty ion top of the Gougères; this is a side or an appetizer to serve for sure. Fine with the Langres, and nice with the date and goat cheese — like a breakfast meal — the date and cheese like stuffed French toast — like. stuffed French toast; Sue”s favorite. The wine is great with steamed broccoli, fantastic with the mashed potatoes and gravy. The wine agrees with all of the spices that are in the crispy chicken.

Sue did not have a specific favorite for the evening. She could not decide between the Mulderbosch, or the Lormier, and the others were not far behind. They were all wonderful in their own ways. 

puff pastry with fresh whipped cream and berries pairs well with sparkling wine

Here’s lots of ideas from 2021 to review, and here’s fresh ideas from my colleagues at Wine Pairing Weekend:

 

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4 thoughts on “Sparkling Wine Secrets: Germany, Austria, So Africa, Argentina, and Lodi Paired with Fried Chicken for a Bubbly Birthday Bash #WinePW

  1. I am shocked to hear how many bubbles are consumed by Germans. When I lived there we had very little sekt, but those were big beer drinking days, so never thought about it then. I’m surprised they don’t produce much themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

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