Sweet Wines (7): Germany, Spätlese and Auslese
Here we enter a world of its own, Germany and its Riesling, starting with the wines that appear to be simpler, the late harvest (Spätlese) and select wines (Auslese).
For ‘hard-core’ wine lovers, Germany is the classic sensorial finish line. It is the undisputed homeland of the Riesling grape and winemaking methods developed over the centuries which, together with the great technical skill of local producers and a perhaps unique microclimate, have resulted in wines that are absolutely exclusive and unrepeatable. For many, the sweet wines produced in this blessed land are the best in the world.
The acidity of the Riesling in Germany is perhaps the most incisive in the world and so what in Germany they call ‘dry’ is, in reality, ‘semi-sweet’ because the sugar residue is necessary to balance a frightening acidity that, in turn, maintains the freshness and drinkability in wines with a frightening sweetness.
In this first part we look at wines that are ‘simply’ sweet according to official classifications, the Spätlese (Late Harvest) and Auslese (Select, with just the start of Botrytis cinerea).