German Auslese wine is a high-quality, sweet wine made from fully ripe grapes that have been selectively harvested. It is one of the Prädikat levels in the German wine classification system, which indicates the ripeness and sweetness level of the grapes at the time of harvest. The term "Auslese" translates to "selected harvest," and it signifies that only individually picked, ripe berries have been used to make the wine.
Characteristics of German Auslese wine:
Sweetness Level: Auslese wines are sweet and luscious, with a higher level of residual sugar than other German wine categories like Kabinett or Spätlese. However, they are not as sweet as the highest levels like Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese.
Ripe Fruit Flavors: The grapes used for Auslese wines are fully ripened, often with a higher concentration of sugar and intense fruit flavors. You can expect to find notes of ripe peach, apricot, honeyed tropical fruits, and sometimes even hints of botrytis, a beneficial mold that can contribute to complex flavors in the wine.
High Acidity: Despite their sweetness, Auslese wines typically retain excellent acidity, which is a hallmark of German Rieslings. This acidity balances the sweetness and prevents the wine from becoming cloying, giving it a vibrant and refreshing character.
Ageability: Auslese wines have impressive aging potential. Over time, they can develop more complexity and evolve into rich, honeyed, and deeply nuanced wines with exquisite flavors.
Versatility: While Auslese wines are delightful on their own as dessert wines, they also pair well with a variety of dishes. They complement rich desserts, fruit-based pastries, and blue cheeses, but they can also be enjoyed with spicy dishes or even foie gras due to their sweetness and acidity.
It's essential to note that the sweetness level of German wines, including Auslese, is regulated by strict criteria based on the sugar content in the grapes at harvest. As a result, the sweetness of Auslese wines may vary slightly from one producer to another, but they will all share the hallmark characteristics of being sweet, rich, and well-balanced wines.
When you encounter a German Auslese wine, you can expect a luxurious and indulgent experience, with a harmonious interplay between sweetness, acidity, and concentrated fruit flavors, making it a prized and sought-after category among wine enthusiasts.