Definition - What does Spatlese mean?
In the context of wine styles, Spatlese is a German wine style made from grapes that have been allowed to fully ripen and mature on the vine. Spatlese wines are made from grapes that have been left on the vine for at least 7 days after what would have been considered a normal harvest. The extra time on the vine allows the grape to develop more sugar and to have a heavier weight when the grapes are pressed into must. Although Spatlese have a delayed harvest, they should not be confused with Auslese wines which are made from grapes that are late harvested, Spatlese wines are considerably lighter in flavor concentration.
WineFrog explains Spatlese
Spatlese wines are made from grapes that are harvested later than normal harvest, but are the earliest of the late harvest wines. Allowing the grapes to mature on the vine for at least a week after the normal harvest season lets the grapes develop more sugar and begins a concentration of the flavors of the varietal. Spatlese wines can only be harvested in warm years with little rain, as the risk of rain during the harvest could put the harvest at risk. Spatlese wines can be either dry or sweet, although the level of ripeness of the grape is very well suited to dry wine styles, particularly Riesling. Spatlese wines are characterized by high acidity, with flavors of honeysuckle, pear and apple, they have a vibrant nose with easily recognizable aromas and are intense and flavorful.