Riesling is the most planted wine grape in Germany. It is used to produce dry, semi-dry and sweet white wines, sparkling wines, and dessert wines.
Auslese wines are sweet (50+ g/l sugar) aromatic, almost perfumed, with balanced acidity:
Citrus. Lemon. Lime.
Peach. Pinapple. Apricot.
Honey. Dried Fruit.
Minerals. Stone. Chalk.
Germany defines these quality Riesling wines (Qualitätswein mit Prädikat):
Riesling Kabinett is the lightest Riesling style.
Kabinett wines range from dry (Trocken 4-9 g/l sugar) to off-dry (Halb trocken 12-18 g/l sugar).
Spätlese means "Late Selected".
Riesling Spätlese wines are richer than Kabinett wines because the grapes contain more sugar at late harvest. Spätlese wines can be off-dry (Halb trocken 12-18 g/l sugar) or dry (Trocken 4-9 g/l sugar).
Auslese means "Selected".
Auslese wines are sweeter than Spätlese wines (50 g/l sugar). These wines are produced from hand-picked very ripe grapes that have more sugar than Spätlese.
Beerenauslese means "Berry (Grape) Selected".
Beerenauslese wines are dessert wines. (100 g/l sugar) Theese wines are basically produced from hand picked grapes that have been infected by the Botrytis bacteria (Noble Rot) that dries out the grapes and concentrates the sugar.
Trockenbeerenauslese means "Dry Berry (Grape) Selected".
Trockenbeerenauslese wines are produced from individual selected Beerenauslese grapes. Trockenbeerenausleses are some of the greatest sweet wines in the world (200 g/l sugar).
Eiswein means "Ice wine".
Eiswein is a sweet dessert wine made from grapes that have been picked when frozen and pressed when frozen. True Eiswein must be picked in the middle of the night, after two days of frost.