April 19, 2013

Things have moved on since the days of Blue Nun or Black Tower (both of which are making a comeback apparently). German QmP wines are quality wines with an attribute, in this case ripeness levels; ripeness bring not only sweetness but also more developed and intense flavours. The following categories describe sophisticated off-dry, sweet, even sticky wines. I am a convert and, in the right circumstances and paired with the correct foods, enjoy all of the following immensely although I have to confess to never having tried a TBA, something to look forward to.

The first classification is Kabinett:

The grapes for this wine are riper than standard quality wine at harvest time. The wine will be dry or sometimes off-dry (only slightly sweet).

Spatlese:

Translates as Late Harvest. The bunches of grapes remain on the vine until extra-ripe resulting in a sweet and intensely fruity wine.

Auslese:

Means “harvested from/selected” they are specially selected extra-ripe grapes bunches, some of which may have been affected by noble rot. The welcomed form of rot causes the grapes to reduce to shrivelled raisins concentrating the sugars to help produce some of the greatest sweet wines in the world.

Beerenauslese BA:

Beeren means berries. So the translation is individual grapes, rather than bunches, that are most likely to have been affected by noble rot. The grapes have to be manually selected, a very labour-intensive and expensive process.

Trockenbeerenauslese, TBA:

Trocken means dry – and refers to the grapes rather than the finished wine. Individual grapes, not bunches, have been affected by noble rot and become shrivelled and dry, with high concentrations of both acidity and sugar and can be almost glycerine-like. Such wines are very rare, very expensive and only produced in exceptional years. One day maybe…..

 

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