Ahhhh… I just watched the lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, a true sign that the holiday season has begun. With the calendar filled with parties and get togethers, I invited a very good friend of mine to write this special holiday post. Fred “Phoodie Phred” Andres is our guest grapenut. He share his thoughts on the perfect host/hostess gift for your upcoming celebration:
The perfect hostess gift for the holiday season is a German Qualitatswein Mit Pradikat. That’s a wine governed by Germany’s wine law to be a high quality wine with a special character. The French make wine for their everyday drink so they take all the grapes from their vineyard and make one wine from them. The Germans, on the other hand, have beer for their everyday drink and they make wine for love. They rope off sections of the vineyard that are especially well drained and facing the sun which get high concentrations of minerals and can be left for a late harvest. The lowest pradikat is Kabinett. The term comes from the fact that this is a wine the vintner would put in his own cabinet. The second is Spatlese which means late harvest. The next is Auslese which means the specially ripe bunches of grapes are separated from the late harvest. Then there’s Beerenauslese which means the ripest individual grapes are picked for the wine. Finally, there’s Trockenbeerenauslese where the grapes have shriveled to raisins due to the botrytis fungus sometimes called the noble rot. A Kabinett is good as a table wine but the others are distinctly dessert wines increasing in sugar content and price as we move to the Trockenbeerenauslese. The latter is a sensual experience that cannot be matched.
I bought this bottle at Trader Joes and I give it 5 salutes. Kabinetts, Spateleses, and Ausleses are available at any good wine store. Beerenausleses are generally available at better wine stores. I have seen them at Costco as well. Trokenbeerenausleses are rare but can generally be found at the best wine stores. Kabinetts, Spateleses, and Ausleses generally cost $15 to $30 a bottle. Beerenausles run $30 to $50 and Trokens run $75 and above.