Trockenbeerenauslese is one of my favorite words to say. And I enjoy drinking it just as much as I enjoy saying it!
Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) is a German wine term that refers to the ripeness level of the grape. The riper the grape, the higher concentration of sugar; more sugar means a sweeter wine. TBA is the highest category in the German and Austrian classification system and the wines are intensely sweet.
TBA grapes look almost like raisins hanging from the vine because they’re overripe and shriveled from noble rot. The grapes must be individually picked as part of a labor-intensive process which means TBA wines can be pricey. But the taste is delicious.
I recently had the opportunity to try a few Trockenbeerenauslese wines from Kracher, a family winery in Burgenland, Austria. Kracher is managed by the enthusiastic and charming 27 year-old Gerhard Kracher, who took over after the death of his father, Alois Kracher, Jr. in 2007.
I’ve had some great dessert wines but Kracher’s dessert wines are on a different level. The lush, lip-smacking taste of ripe fruit and honey lingers in your mind long after your glass is gone. You’ll find yourself craving more.
The names of the wines may be hard to pronounce so just look for the gold label and pick a number. I tried a couple of number 7’s and really liked both.
The 2004 Welschriesling TBA Zwischen den Seen No. 7 is made from 100% Welschriesling, a traditional Austrian grape that’s grown throughout Central Europe. It’s fermented and aged in stainless steel. The wine is deep golden yellow in color and has flavors of honey, ripe apricot, peach and pineapple, with white tea and marshmallow on the finish. A 375ml bottle costs around $45.
The 2005 Grand Cuvée TBA Nouvelle Vague No. 7 is a blend of Chardonnay and Welschriesling. It’s fermented in new barrels and aged 22 months. It’s medium golden yellow in color and has notes of yellow apple, honey, dried fruits and subtle oak. Luscious flavors of juicy orange and apricot fill the mouth. Well-balanced acidity gives the wine a nice structure. A 375ml bottle costs around $50.
Try a glass of Kracher TBA with cheese, fruit, dessert or on its own. It’s truly a sweet experience!