Monday, November 17, 2014

Sekt and Food Pairing with Janet Cam in Washington DC, USA

Picture: Sekt and Food Pairing with Janet Cam in Washington DC

Janet Cam, formerly Le Pavillon restaurant in Washington DC and Lutèce restaurant in New York City, paired a delicious global array of tapas-style foods with German Sekt. The event was organized by the German Wine Society (Washington DC Chapter). 45 friends of German wine (US$35 for GWS members and US$42 for non-members) enjoyed 4 German Sekts, the delicious food prepared by Janet Cam and her very entertaining and informative presentation.

Janet Cam

Janet Cam is best known as the co-proprietor of the elegant Le Pavillon restaurant in Washington DC and the Managing Director of the legendary Lutèce restaurant in New York City. At Le Pavillon, Nouvelle Cuisine was introduced to the United States by her ex-husband Yannik Cam.

Picture: Klaus Teuter, Janet Cam and Christian G.E. Schiller

Today, Janet provides consulting services to restaurant and hospitality businesses with a focus on wine and beverage programs. Over the past decade, Janet has created several critically acclaimed restaurant concepts in Washington DC including Circle Bistro, Dish and Nectar, and has served as restaurant consultant to the owners and operators of the Cosmo Club, Casa Nonna and Vino Volo.

Janet Cam also conducts weekly food and wine tastings addressing various wine subjects including Value for Money Wines, comparative tasting of cellared Entry Level Wines vs Current Release Wines from Great Producer as well as Tasting for Potential.

Sekt in Germany

Not well known, Germany is one of the largest sparkling wine markets in the world. One of four bottles of sparkling wine produced in the world is consumed in Germany. Sparkling wine produced in Germany is called Sekt. Sekt is made in all German wine regions, both in the méthode traditionnelle and charmat method.

Sekt is made in all German wine regions, both in the méthode traditionnelle and charmat method. There are three groups of Sekt makers: (i) large and (ii) smaller Sekt houses, who only make Sekt and (iii) winemakers, who make predominantly wine, but complement their wine selection by a few Sekts. The Sekts produced by large Sekt estates tend to be in the demy-sweet and sweet range, while the Sekts of smaller estates and the wine makers are mostly in the brut and extra brut range. In addition to Sekt, Germany produces semi-sparkling wine, which is called Perlwein. But the production of Perlwein is small.

Picture: Sekt and Food Pairing with Janet Cam in Washington DC

There is a dozen or so large Sekt houses. They produce more than 200000 cases each annually. Most of these large Sekt houses were established in the 1800s. At that time, there was only one method known to produce Sekt, the méthode traditionnelle. But in contrast to the champagne houses, the large Sekt houses have all moved to the charmat method as main method of the second fermentation after World War II. Like the champagne houses, Sekt houses do not own vineyards, but purchase the base wine from winemakers. More than three quarters of the base wine used to make Sekt is imported from other EU countries, essentially Italy, France and Spain. Sekt can only be labeled as Deutscher Sekt if it is made exclusively from German grapes, which is rare in the case of the large and the smaller Sekt houses. Most of the Sekt houses have beautiful chateau-type facilities with old underground cellars for the second fermentation and storage. Overall, these Sekts are reasonably priced, are of good quality, but with the introduction of the charmat method are no longer in the same class as their counterparts in the champagne region.

The smaller Sekt houses, like the large Sekt houses, do not own vineyards, but also buy the base wine from winemakers. They also tend to have a long history and often links to the champagne region, beautiful facilities and old cellars for the second fermentation and storage. The big difference is that they typically have not gone the route of tank fermentation but continue to ferment in the méthode traditionnelle.

Finally, increasingly, there is a number of top quality winemakers, who, in addition, to their still wines, have started to include Sekts in their portfolio. These Sekts are typically vintage Sekts, from a specified vineyard, made of specific grapes, often Riesling, in the méthode champenoise and with little or not dosage (brut or extra but). While the first fermentation typically takes place at the winery, the second fermentation is often not in the cellar of the winemaker but in the cellar of a Sekt house that bottle-ferments for other wineries. One of those is award-winning Volker Raumland in Rheinhessen. He bottle-ferments for himself and for others. He keeps the bottle sur lie up to 12 years before corking and labeling the bottle for sale. There is a large and growing number of winemakers who have started to produce world class Sekts. Unfortunately, their production is very limited and they are difficult to find in the US.

For more, see: 
German Wine Basics: Sekt

The Sekts Janet Cam Poured

Janet Cam offered the following selection of German Sekts:

Picture: The Sekts Janet Cam Poured

Henkell Trocken

The Henkell Trocken - made of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chenin Blanc in the charmat method - is widely available in the US, with (supposedly) the same taste as in 1894, when this cuvee was created by Adam Henkell, although then, the charmat methode had not yet been discovered. This entry-level Sekt sells for about US$10.

Henkell-Söhnlein, a conglomerate, is the second largest Sekt house in Germany. Henkell was founded in 1832 in Mainz (Rheinhessen) by Adam Henkell, at about the same time all the famous Champagne houses were established in the Champagne region

Weingut Dr. Loosen, Mosel, Dr. L – Riesling Sekt

Also made in the charmat method, but exclusively from Riesling grapes from the Mosel area, this sells for a few US$s more than the Henkel Trocken. The price/quality ratio is excellent. Strictly speaking, the Dr. L is not made by Weingut Dr. Loosen, but by Loosen Bros., a joint venture of Ernst Loosen and his brother.

Ernst Loosen is a world famous winemaker in Germany, who now is involved in 4 different wines in Germany and the USA: First, Mosel Valley Rieslings (Weingut Dr. Loosen and Dr. L), mostly fruity-sweet that made him so famous in the world; second, Pinot Noirs and other wines from the Pfalz, all dry, where he owns Weingut J.L. Wolf; third, the J. Christopher Wines, a collaboration of Ernst Loosen and Jay Somers, mainly Pinot Noir, from Oregon and fourth, the Eroica wines, a collaboration between Dr. Loosen and Chateau Ste. Michelle, the giant wine producer, in Washington State.

Pictures: Ernst Loosen, Annette Schiller, ombiasy PR and WineTours, and Christian G.E.Schiller at Weingut Dr. Loosen in the Mosel Valley during the German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

Weingut Dr. Loosen is located just outside Bernkastel in the Mosel wine region. The vineyard area totals 22 hectares. Production amounts to 15.000 cases. Ernst Loosen won the "Riesling of the Year" of the German wine magazine Der Feinschmecker in 1989. In 2001, the Gault Millau Weinguide named Ernst Loosen as the German Winemaker of the Year.

For more, see:
Ernst Loosen and Dr. L. Riesling - His Hugely Popular Entry-level Wine Sold Throughout the World

Weingut Fitz Ritter, Pfalz – Riesling Sekt

Like Weingut Dr. Loosen, Weingut Fitz Ritter is one of the premium wine producers in Germany that also has Sekt in its portfolio. But unlike Weingut Dr. Loosen, the Sekts produced by Weingut Fitz Ritter are all made in the méthode traditionnelle. In fact, Weingut Fitz Ritter is the oldest Sekt producer in the Pfalz region. While we had a Riesling, Weingut Fitz Ritter also produces Sekt from the traditional Champagne grapes. This Sekt sells for US$20.

Total Beverage: Fitz-Ritter was one of the earliest producers of German Champagne (called Sekt or Sparkling Wine) in Germany. (see History of the Fitz Sektkellerei) This quality Sekt, produced from 100% old-vine Riesling, was grown in the sunny microclimate of the Middle-Haardt region. (Bad Dürkheim was the “sunniest town in Germany” in 2005– Nat. Weather Survey) It is crisp and dry while bursting with the fruitiness of ripe Riesling. Serve this exciting, dry Riesling Sekt with appetizers, sushi, seafood and greens. This Sparkling Wine is always a favorite and has been written up in prestigious publications such as the Wine Spectator and the New York Times.

Weingut Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler, Mosel - Riesling Sekt

Weingut Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler is a family-run and owned winery in the Mosel region that exports 70% of its production and is very present in the US market. This Sekt sells for US$23.

Brujazz wrote on cellar tracker: You can't be how surprisingly wonderful this bottle of wine was. Delicate, yet loaded with the best of Riesling flavors. Almost bone dry, it worked very well with some roasted chicken parts. Long finish. Better than double the price point!

The Tapas-style Food Janet Cam Served

We tasted with Janet the 4 Sekts with various bites she offered, and interestingly, the views on which Sekt went best with which food differed widely.

Barquettes of Herring Roe and Crème Fraîche
Labneh and Ajvar served with Sangak Bread
Onion and Cloud’s Ear Tofu
Shiitake and Rice Dumpling
Shanghai Spiced Nuts

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Riesling from Germany and Pinot Noir from Oregon: A Winemaker Dinner with Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Loosen and J.Christopher Wines, at Black Salt in Washington DC.

Riesling, Pinot Noir and Indian Cuisine: A tête-à-tête Dinner with Winemaker Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Loosen, at Rasika in Washington DC, USA

Ernst Loosen and Dr. L. Riesling - His Hugely Popular Entry-level Wine Sold Throughout the World

The Doctor Made a House Call - A Tasting with Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Loosen, at MacArthur Beverages in Washington DC, USA

A Riesling Guru and a Killer Guitarist cum Cult Winemaker: Ernst Loosen and Jay Somers and their J. Christopher Winery in Newberg, Oregon

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

Wine region: Champagne

German Wine Makers in the World: Eduard Werle - Owner of the Veuve Cliquot Champagne House

Champagne in Russia

3 Wine Tours by ombiasy Coming up in 2014: Germany-North, Germany-South and Bordeaux

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

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