2018 Dönnhoff, Riesling QbA Dry, Nahe, Germany


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Roving Sommelier is passionate about premium quality regional wines. For me, Dönnhoff is one of the best producers of Riesling in Germany, perhaps even in the world. In fact, he’s regarded as a bit of a wine legend. For most lovers of Riesling and German wines, he’s up there near the top of the list of most wine lover’s favourite producers. He certainly is one of mine. What’s more it was a great pleasure to be able to meet Helmut Dönnhoff in 2006 at his estate in Oberhausen in the Nahe region when I visited many vineyards in Germany. It was a real treat as I have been a big fan of his wines for many years.

The Dönnhoff family is proud to call Oberhausen an der Nahe home. Running from Niederhausen to Schloßböckelheim, the majestic landscapes of the Nahe Valley have held sway over us for more than 250 years. The first official mention of the Dönnhoff name dates back to 1761; the Dönnhoff archives details the early flowering of 1781 and the bumper grape harvest of 1784. Helmut Dönnhoff ‘s grandfather laid the cornerstone for the estate ‘s success. Right from the outset Hermann Dönnhoff (1880-1953) focused his attention on planting Riesling vines in prized vineyards, and by the 1920s was filling his wines into bottles and selling the finest of them by their individual vineyard names. The family owes its undying thanks to his son Hermann Jr. (1916-1991) not just for the cultivation of the tiny “Oberhäuser Brücke” site, but also for the construction of the press house in 1936 and the estate‘s first cellar space. In 1953 the estate received a Merit of Honour from the government for its outstanding viticultural achievements.

The grandchild of the estate ‘s founder, Helmut Dönnhoff, paved the way for international success by establishing an enduring quality and style in his wines. His vintages would in fact become a byword for renowned German Rieslings the world over. Following his training under his parents’ guidance and university studies in winegrowing, he assumed responsibility for both vineyard and cellar starting in 1971. “Extraordinary wines are based on extraordinary vineyards. I ‘m fortunate to have had the opportunity to acquire several world-class sites and in some cases to resume cultivation. It remains very much a privilege for me to produce wine from vineyards of such exceptional quality. It is more than I ever could have dreamed when I first started working.” This deep understanding of grand wines and grand vineyards was passed on from father to son to grandson. The fourth generation now holds the reins: Cornelius Dönnhoff. He began his training in 1999 and, after a series of positions abroad, in 2007 returned to assume responsibility for the estate – initially for the vineyard and cellar, and now for all aspects of the operation. History continues, but the estate remains what it has always been: a family affair in every sense.

This is their ‘entry level’ dry Riesling. All grapes are hand-harvested and sourced from vineyards on the steep slopes of the Middle Nahe region, which contains very special terroirs full of minerals that impart a distinct flavour in the Riesling grapes. The wine is crisp, delicate and fresh with lovely, subtle citrus and floral aromas. Best enjoyed chilled and in a convivial atmosphere.

Alcohol: 11.5% abv (75cl)

Closure: Screwcap

Grape variety: Riesling

Flavour Profile: Clean, Fresh, Dry, Delicate, Citrus, Zesty, Apple, Grapefruit, Stone Fruits, Floral, Mouth-watering acidity