Germany: Wine labelling

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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The overwhelming majority of German wine is officially qualitätswein. A portion of this, the amount varying according to quality of vintage and subject to long-term labelling trends, is bottled unchaptalized and bears a so-called Prädikat, of which there are six: kabinett, spätlese, auslese, beerenauslese, trockenbeerenauslese, and eiswein. One such trend is toward omitting these designations of Prädikat for dry wines. Whereas a Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, or Eiswein is almost inevitably bottled with a high level of residual sugar, designation of a wine as Kabinett, Spätlese, or Auslese bears no direct relation to the sweetness of the finished wine. Among wines not labelled as trocken (dry), feinherb, or halbtrocken (medium dry; see sweetness for the official eu classification of such terms), an Auslese will generally, though not always, taste noticeably sweeter than a Spätlese, which will in turn taste sweeter than a Kabinett.