Pronounced trawk-uhn-bay-ruhn-ows-lay-zuh. German for “dry selected berries”, Trockenbeerenauslese is a German dessert wine of the highest quality produced by grapes that are left on the vine until they are nearly dry. To encourage the process of drying, or shriveling, grapes are usually infected with Botrytis Cinerea. The end result is grapes highly concentrated in sugar. To be categorized as a Trockenbeerenauslese, the natural sugar content of the grapes used to produce the wine must reach a minimum of approximately 150 Oechsle (35 percent) sugar by weight. The minimum is dependent on the region and the grape variety used. For example, Austria has a similar Trockenbeerenauslese category requiring a minimum of 156 Oechsle. Although the sugar content in these rare and expensive wines is high, they tend to contain enough acidity to obtain a perfect balance. With the high concentration of sugar, these wines frequently have difficulty fermenting, often resulting in an alcohol content of only 5.5 to 6 percent.
Grape varieties used to create Trockenbeerenauslese include Riesling, Chardonnay, Traminer, Ortega, Scheurebe, Pinot Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Characteristics: Nectarous, rich, flavorful wine, high in sugar content while balanced by natural acidity. Additional characteristics are determined by the grape varieties used to create the wine.
Ageing: Depending on the variety used in making the wine, most develop additional complexity while ageing and are capable of ageing for many years.
Serving temperature: Serve at a temperature of 45º-50ºF.
Food pairings: Considered a premier quality dessert wine, Trockenbeerenauslese is ideal on its own or when served with moderately sweet, non-chocolate based desserts.