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Trockenbeerenauslese (abbreviated to TBA) is the most decadently sweet grade of German and Austrian white wine. It is made from grapes that have been left on the vine so long—sometimes until December—that they have practically shrivelled up into raisins; those that are in good enough condition to make wine are then individually selected, grape by grape (literally translated, the name means ‘dry berry selection’). In years when the climate is propitious, the grapes' moisture content is further reduced by the depredations of Botrytis cinerea, the ‘noble rot’ (German edelfäule). This is the same mould that produces the peculiarly resonant lusciousness of the best Sauternes. It is only since the explosion in wine-drinking from the 1960s onwards that trockenbeerenauslesen have become widely known about in Britain, and the first record of the use of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary is as recent as 1963 (a poor year). In the wine trade, the unwieldy name tends to be shortened to trock. It should not, incidentally, be confused with trocken wines, which are German wines at the very opposite end of the sweetness spectrum, introduced in recent years in response to consumer demand for very dry white wines. See also Auslese, beerenauslese, spätlese.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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