Friedrich Becker, Cuvée Salomé brut, 2005

Friedrich Becker, Cuvée Salomé brut, 2005

Situated in the southern parts of the Pfalz lie the vineyards of Friedrich Becker. Well, actually, he owns a few on the French side of the border too. Maybe this explains (if indeed an explanation would be needed) why Becker is often referred to as a specialist for 'Burgunder-Weine', or 'Burgundy wines': the members of the Pinot family are called 'Burgunder' in German. The sparkling wine we tasted, blind and against an English sparkler, as part of the Wine Rambler birthday celebrations is a good example, after all it is a cuvée of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Auxerrois and Chardonnay (the latter two varietals are at least related to the Pinot family). So, here we have a German sparkler with 'French' varietals and made following the classic Champagne method, which includes having spent about three years on lees. So how does it taste then?

Actually, it tastes surprisingly German. Obviously, that is a rubbish answer. What I mean to say is that it surprised us by being much lighter, less yeasty-robust and more like a white wine than we expected.

The colour is a light, shiny gold; medium amount of, fairly fine, bubbles. The nose features ripe pear, apple, peach, a hint of petrol and fruit flan. While it clearly has something creamy to it, it is also floral, with clearly distinguishable fruit - light and very inviting.

On the tongue the ripe pear resurfaces, as does the stone fruit, with the fruity addition of apricot, lychee and more exotic fruit. The finish starts off malty-bitter and then turns into nice lychee.

Overall, the sparkler, or 'Sekt', as the German say, really struck us with so much 'white wine fruit'. Julian speculated that at least some of the sweet fruit came from the Pinot Noir, which as the wine merchant informed us was a 1989 TBA, a 'dry berry selection', i.e. a very sweet wine made from hand-selected, over-ripe grapes. If you give the sparkler some time in the glass you could almost confuse it with a complex, fruity-flany fizzy white wine.

A thoroughly enjoyable wine that had some complexity, but was especially good at being very inviting and charming.