Trockenbeerenauslese

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Trockenbeerenauslese, sometimes known as TBA, the highest must weight prädikat defined by Austrian and german wine law. Trockenbeeren refers to grapes (Beeren) shrivelled on the vine, typically under the influence of noble rot. Many vintages have yielded no Trockenbeerenauslese wine at all in Germany (it is more frequent in Austria’s Neusiedlersee region), but warmer weather and scrupulous standards of selection have dramatically increased the frequency of TBA bottlings by many top German estates since 1988. An even higher minimum potential alcohol is required than for sauternes, generally produced in a much warmer climate. It is inevitable therefore that these rarities command exceptionally high prices, which go some way to compensating the producer for the many passages (see tri) through the vineyard, the risk of losing all the grapes to grey rot or rain, and the difficulty of vinifying such viscous juice. High must weight TBA (and musts in the upper 200s of oechsle are no longer freakishly uncommon) can sometimes take a year or more to ferment to the 5.5% alcohol requisite for wine—all the while risking the acquisition of excessive volatile acidity—and a significant share of any TBA is lost to the filter pads in the process of bottling it in stable condition.