Last updated
Botrytised grape cluster Botrytisgrape.JPG
Botrytised grape cluster

Trockenbeerenauslese (literal meaning: 'dried berry selection') is a German language wine term for a medium to full body dessert wine.


Trockenbeerenauslese is the highest in sugar content in the Prädikatswein category of the Austrian and German wine classifications. [1] Trockenbeerenauslese wines, often called "TBA" for short, are made from individually selected grapes affected by noble rot (i.e., botrytized grapes).

This means that the grapes have been individually picked and are shrivelled with noble rot, often to the point of appearing like a raisin. They are therefore very sweet and have an intensely rich flavor, frequently with a lot of caramel and honey bouquet, stone fruit notes such as apricot, and distinctive aroma of the noble rot. The finest examples are made from the Riesling grape, as this retains plenty of acidity even at the extreme ripeness. [2] [3] Other grape varieties are also used, such as Scheurebe, Ortega, Welschriesling, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer and many are more prone to noble rot than Riesling since they ripen earlier.

These wines are rare and expensive due to the labor-intensive method of production, and the fact that very specific climatic conditions (which do not necessarily occur every year) are required to create botrytized grapes. Some of the best wines of this type are sold almost exclusively at the various German wine auctions. They are usually golden to deep golden in colour, sometimes even dark caramel. The body is viscous, very thick and concentrated, and arguably can be aged almost indefinitely due to the preservative powers of its high sugar content. Although TBA has very high residual sugar level, the finest specimens are far from being cloying due to high level of acidity.

Trockenbeerenauslesen have also been in common production since the 1960s in Austria. Most TBA wines from Austria come from Neusiedlersee, Burgenland. On both sides of lake Neusiedl those wines are produced. East of the lake, the village of Illmitz is known for the production of "liquid gold". At the western side of the lake in Rust and St. Margarethen, wine of exceptionally good quality can be found. This region is known for its wide and shallow lakes which can lose more than half their volume due to evaporation. The mists created by these lakes provide a very conducive climate for noble rot to shrivel grapes.

The style is similar to, but much more concentrated than, Sélection de Grains Nobles from Alsace.

In comparison to Sauternes, the wines are considerably sweeter, have a lower alcoholic strength and are usually not oaked.

As with most other premium grade dessert wines, Trockenbeerenauslese is to a large extent sold in half bottles of 375 ml.


The minimum must weight requirements for Trockenbeerenauslese is as follows:

The requirements are part of the wine law in both countries. Many producers, especially top-level producers, exceed the minimum requirements, resulting in richer and sweeter wines. In Germany it is common to add a golden capsule to indicate a superior wine. The sweetness of a TBA that just comes up to the minimum requirements may be 150 grams per liter, but in exceptional circumstances, the wines may contain more than 300 grams of sugar per liter and may approach the very rare Tokaji Eszencia in concentration.

See also

Related Research Articles

Dessert wine Sweet wine typically served with dessert

Dessert wines, sometimes called pudding wines in the United Kingdom, are sweet wines typically served with dessert.

Riesling White grape variety

Riesling is a white grape variety that originated in the Rhine region. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet, and sparkling white wines. Riesling wines are usually varietally pure and are seldom oaked. As of 2004, Riesling was estimated to be the world's 20th most grown variety at 48,700 hectares, but in terms of importance for quality wines, it is usually included in the "top three" white wine varieties together with Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc. Riesling is a variety that is highly "terroir-expressive", meaning that the character of Riesling wines is greatly influenced by the wine's place of origin.

Ice wine A type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine

Ice wine is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing for a more concentrated grape juice to develop. The grapes' must is then pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet juice. With ice wines, the freezing happens before the fermentation, not afterwards. Unlike the grapes from which other dessert wines are made, such as Sauternes, Tokaji, or Trockenbeerenauslese, ice wine grapes should not be affected by Botrytis cinerea or noble rot, at least not to any great degree. Only healthy grapes keep in good shape until the opportunity arises for an ice wine harvest, which in extreme cases can occur after the New Year, on a northern hemisphere calendar. This gives ice wine its characteristic refreshing sweetness balanced by high acidity. When the grapes are free of Botrytis, they are said to come in "clean".

Noble rot Grey fungus affecting wine grapes

Noble rot is the beneficial form of a grey fungus, Botrytis cinerea, affecting wine grapes. Infestation by Botrytis requires moist conditions. If the weather stays wet, the damaging form, "grey rot", can destroy crops of grapes. Grapes typically become infected with Botrytis when they are ripe. If they are then exposed to drier conditions and become partially raisined, this form of infection is known as noble rot. Grapes picked at a certain point during infestation can produce particularly fine and concentrated sweet wine. Wines produced by this method are known as botrytized wines.

Chenin blanc Variety of grape

Chenin blanc is a white wine grape variety from the Loire Valley of France. Its high acidity means it can be used to make varieties from sparkling wines to well-balanced dessert wines, although it can produce very bland, neutral wines if the vine's natural vigor is not controlled. Outside the Loire, it is found in most of the New World wine regions; it is the most widely planted variety in South Africa, where it was historically also known as Steen. The grape may have been one of the first to be grown in South Africa by Jan van Riebeeck in 1655, or it may have come to that country with Huguenots fleeing France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Chenin blanc was often misidentified in Australia, as well, so tracing its early history in the country is not easy. It may have been introduced in James Busby's collection of 1832, but C. Waterhouse was growing Steen at Highercombe in Houghton, South Australia, by 1862.

Late harvest wine Variety of wine

Late harvest wine is wine made from grapes left on the vine longer than usual. Late harvest is usually an indication of a sweet dessert wine, such as late harvest Riesling. Late harvest grapes are often more similar to raisins, but have been naturally dehydrated while on the vine.

Beerenauslese is a German language wine term for a late harvest wine with noble rot. Beerenauslese is a category in the Prädikatswein category of the Austrian and German wine classifications, and is a category above Auslese. Beerenauslese wines, often called "BA" for short, are usually made from grapes affected by noble rot, that is "botrytized" grapes.

German wine Alcoholic beverage made from grapes grown in Germany

German wine is primarily produced in the west of Germany, along the river Rhine and its tributaries, with the oldest plantations going back to the Roman era. Approximately 60 percent of German wine is produced in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where 6 of the 13 regions (Anbaugebiete) for quality wine are situated. Germany has about 103,000 hectares of vineyard, which is around one tenth of the vineyard surface in Spain, France or Italy. The total wine production is usually around 10 million hectoliters annually, corresponding to 1.3 billion bottles, which places Germany as the eighth-largest wine-producing country in the world. White wine accounts for almost two thirds of the total production.

German wine classification Overview of the wine classification system in Germany

The German wine classification system puts a strong emphasis on standardization and factual completeness, and was first implemented by the German Wine Law of 1971. Nearly all of Germany's vineyards are delineated and registered as one of approximately 2,600 Einzellagen, and the produce from any vineyard can be used to make German wine at any quality level, as long as the must weight of the grapes reaches the designated minimum level. As the current German system does not classify vineyards by quality, the measure of wine ’quality’ is the ripeness of the grapes alone.


Kabinett, or sometimes Kabinettwein, is a German language wine term for a wine which is made from fully ripened grapes of the main harvest, typically picked in September, and are usually made in a light style. In the German wine classification system, Kabinett is the lowest level of Prädikatswein, lower in ripeness than Spätlese.

Spätlese German late harvest wine

Spätlese is a German wine term for a wine from fully ripe grapes, the lightest of the late harvest wines. Spätlese is a riper category than Kabinett in the Prädikatswein category of the German wine classification and is the lowest level of Prädikatswein in Austria, where Kabinett is classified in another way. In both cases, Spätlese is below Auslese in terms of ripeness. The grapes are picked at least seven days after normal harvest, so they are riper and have a higher sugar content. Because of the weather, waiting to pick the grapes later carries a risk of the crop being ruined by rain. However, in warm years and from good sites much of the harvest will reach Spätlese level.


Auslese is a German language wine term for a late harvest wine and is a riper category than Spätlese in the Prädikatswein category of the Austrian and German wine classification. The grapes are picked from selected very ripe bunches in the autumn, and have to be hand-picked. Generally Auslese wine can be made in only the best harvest years that have been sufficiently warm. A small proportion of the grapes may be affected by noble rot in some regions although this never dominates the character of the wine. Rheingau winemaker Schloss Johannisberg is generally credited with discovering Auslese wine in 1787.

Sweetness of wine Overview about the sweetness of wine

The subjective sweetness of a wine is determined by the interaction of several factors, including the amount of sugar in the wine, but also the relative levels of alcohol, acids, and tannins. Sugars and alcohol enhance a wine's sweetness; acids (sourness) and bitter tannins counteract it. These principles are outlined in the 1987 work by Émile Peynaud, The Taste of Wine.

Alsace wine Wine from the Alsace region in France

Alsace wine or Alsatian wine is produced in the Alsace region in France and is primarily white wine. Because of its Germanic influence, it is the only Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée region in France to produce mostly varietal wines, typically from similar grape varieties to those used in German wine. Along with Austria and Germany, it produces some of the most noted dry Rieslings in the world as well as highly aromatic Gewürztraminer wines. Wines are produced under three different AOCs: Alsace AOC for white, rosé and red wines, Alsace Grand Cru AOC for white wines from certain classified vineyards and Crémant d'Alsace AOC for sparkling wines. Both dry and sweet white wines are produced.

Vendange tardive French dessert wine

Vendange tardive ("VT") means "late harvest" in French. The phrase refers to a style of dessert wine where the grapes are allowed to hang on the vine until they start to dehydrate. This process, called passerillage, concentrates the sugars in the juice and changes the flavours within it. The name is sometimes written as the plural form, vendanges tardives, referring to the fact that several runs through the vineyard is often necessary to produce such wines. In other countries such as Germany or Austria the term Spätlese is used to describe wine using the same making process.

Vouvray (wine)

Vouvray is a French wine region in the Loire Valley located in the Touraine district just east of the city of Tours in the commune of Vouvray. The Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) is dedicated almost exclusively to Chenin blanc; the obscure and minor grape Arbois is permitted but rarely used.

Harvest (wine) Harvest of grapes in order to produce wine

The harvesting of wine grapes (Vintage) is one of the most crucial steps in the process of wine-making. The time of harvest is determined primarily by the ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid and tannin levels with winemakers basing their decision to pick based on the style of wine they wish to produce. The weather can also shape the timetable of harvesting with the threat of heat, rain, hail, and frost which can damage the grapes and bring about various vine diseases. In addition to determining the time of the harvest, winemakers and vineyard owners must also determine whether to use hand pickers or mechanical harvesters. The harvest season typically falls between August & October in the Northern Hemisphere and February & April in the Southern Hemisphere. With various climate conditions, grape varieties, and wine styles the harvesting of grapes could happen in every month of the calendar year somewhere in the world. In the New World it is often referred to as the crush.

Sélection de Grains Nobles (SGN) is French for "selection of noble berries" and refers to wines made from grapes affected by noble rot. SGN wines are sweet dessert wines with rich, concentrated flavours. Alsace wines were the first to be described as Sélection de Grains Nobles, with the legal definition introduced in 1984, but the term is also seen in some other wine regions France, such as Loire.

Ausbruch or sometimes Ausbruchwein is an Austrian wine term for a quality level in the Prädikatswein category. It is situated between Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese in requirements, which makes it a sweet dessert wine typically made from grapes affected by noble rot. The minimum must weight requirements for Ausbruch is 30 degrees KMW. The Ausbruch Prädikat exists only in Austria and Hungary, not in Germany. The category was introduced into Austrian wine legislation in 1970, as a legalization of the production method allegedly already used in the area of Rust. Ruster Ausbruch are still the most common Ausbruch wines to encounter; in many other Austrian regions, producers classify their wines as Beerenauslese if they fall short of the Trockenbeerenauslese requirements. Since October 2020, the Ruster Ausbruch is legally protected by the Austrian DAC system of origins as "Ruster Ausbruch DAC".

Coteaux du Layon

Coteaux du Layon is an Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) for sweet white wine in the Loire Valley wine region of France. Coteaux du Layon is situated in the Anjou district of the region, along the river Layon, which is a tributary of the Loire. Six of the villages (communes), namely Beaulieu-sur-Layon, Faye-d'Anjou, Rablay-sur-Layon, Rochefort-sur-Loire, Saint-Aubin-de-Luigné and Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay are allowed to add their name to that of the appellation. Usually, the "de" or "sur" part is dropped, to give names like Coteaux du Layon Beaulieu and Coteaux du Layon Saint-Aubin. Furthermore, two villages within the Coteaux du Layon area form their own respective AOC – Bonnezeaux and Chaume. Finally, a favoured enclave within Chaume is a separate AOC under the name Quarts de Chaume. For the geographically delimited AOCs, required grape maturity is higher and allowed yield is lower. The best vineyards are generally located on the north bank of the Layon, where they enjoy a good sun exposure on roughly south-facing slopes. Coteaux du Layon including its enclave appellations cover about 1,400 hectares in the early 2000s.


  1. German Wine Institute: Quality categories Archived 2007-12-24 at the Wayback Machine , accessed on May 4, 2008
  2. Jancis Robinson, ed. (2006). "Riesling". Oxford Companion to Wine (Third ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp.  577. ISBN   0-19-860990-6.
  3. Jancis Robinson, ed. (2006). "Botrytized". Oxford Companion to Wine (Third ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp.  95. ISBN   0-19-860990-6.
  4. German Wine Institute: Must weights Archived 2008-04-14 at the Wayback Machine , accessed on May 4, 2008
  5. Wines from Austria: Quality Designations in Detail Archived 2008-05-13 at the Wayback Machine , accessed on May 4, 2008