Let's start with Kabinett: The lightest end of the German wine spectrum. They are the least sweet of the German Rieslings. This wine is great as an aperitif.
Spätlese is next in line for the sweet category. Breaking up the word spat means "late" and "lese" means "harvest". Put them together it means "late harvest". These grapes are fully ripened, a little sweeter than Kabinett and typically are more expensive.
Auslese wine is made from selected bunches of grapes which have been left on the vine and allowed to become overripe. Some of the grapes have been attacked by Edelfäule (botrytis cinerea an noble rot, a good mold which forms on the grapes as they shrivel up to become raisin-like, extracting the water, but leaving a honey flavor in the grape).
Beernauslese wines are specially selected grapes which have been affected by Edelfäule, choosing the ripest bunches. It is made only in outstanding years and is very expensive.
Eiswein is exactly what it suggests. The wine is made from overripe grapes unaffected by Edelfäule, but left on the vine until caught by frost. The grapes are pressed to separate the frozen water from the very sweet juice. Eiswein can be enjoyed with just about any sweet dessert or it can be the final course.
Trockenbeernauslese sometimes known as TBA is a wine that may be hard to pronounce but is unforgettable once it reaches your palate. The wine is usually ultra-rich and deep golden-orange. The term literally means dried up selected grapes. It is only made in selected years and is affected by Edelfäule. The selection is hand picked from a single vineyard.
German Rieslings display a mineral quality with pear, yellow/green apple, white peach, floral and honey notes. They are typically higher in acidity lower in alcohol which makes them a good match for spicy dishes. It can also be grown in
Look for the label that has the famous German Eagle with the grape cluster. This represents the Verband Deutscher Pradikatsweingüter Association also known as the VDP. It is the oldest recognized wine organization in the world founded in 1910. This association insures quality in the wine by meeting certain members' uncompromising dedicated standards starting with self-imposed regulations.
In Bernkastel we stayed in the Riesling house, a small hotel upstairs and a great wine shop on the bottom floor with the best selection on