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Spätlese: German classification based on the ripeness level and sugar content of the grapes. Meaning "late harvest," spätlesen are usually richer than kabinette-level wines because the grapes contain a higher concentration of sugar at harvest. The wines can be dry or sweet.
Auslese: German classification based on the ripeness level and sugar content of the grapes. Auslesen are made from individually-selected bunches of very ripe grapes that have higher sugar concentrations than those selected for spätlesen, but lower than those selected for beerenauslesen. Auslesen are nearly always sweet wines but can be fermented in drier styles.
Beerenauslese (BA): German classification based on the ripeness level and sugar content of the grapes. Beerenauslesen are made from individually selected grapes that are very ripe. Usually these grapes have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, or noble rot, further concentrating their high sugars. These wines are rare and costly.
Kabinett: German classification based on the ripeness level and sugar content of the grapes. At the entry level of QmP, the highest group of quality German wines, kabinette are usually low in alcohol, with crisp acidity. The wines can be dry, halbtrocken (half-dry) or sweet.
Qualitat mit Pradikat (QmP): German quality classification meaning "quality with distinction" and includes Germany’s best wines. QmP is divided into six classes of ascending ripeness at harvest: kabinett, spätlese, auslese, beerenauslese, eiswein and trockenbeerenauslese. Sugar is never added to these wines.
Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA): German classification based on the ripeness level and sugar content of the grapes. Trockenbeerenauslese means literally "dry berry selection." This very sweet dessert wine is made from individually selected shriveled grapes that have the highest sugar levels with flavors concentrated further by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, or noble rot. Trockenbeerenauslesen rank among the greatest sweet wines in the world.
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