Hailed by the likes of Robert Parker and Hugh Johnson and named Gault Millau Winemaker of the Year in 1999, Helmut Donnhoff is regarded in German Riesling circles as a super-star. And if you’re thinking that term is somehow an oxymoron, you’d probably find Helmut agrees. With the affable humility and deep deference to his vineyards of someone whose family have been making wine since 1750, Donnhoff believes that “winemaking alone cannot bring quality, it can only retain the available quality.” Wine is made in the vineyard, and from taking the helm in 1971 to the present day Helmut has grown the family holdings from 4 hectares to a still modest 20 hectares of lovingly managed vineyards. 80% of these are Riesling (many of them Erste Lage or Grand Cru) with the other 20%, reflecting Nahe’s less austere climates and more mixed clay and volcanic soils, given to Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. But Riesling is king, with Helmut Donnhoff’s many classics from the steeper slate soils having themselves played a prominent role, over the last forty years, in formalising Nahe’s reputation as Germany’s third region for consistently premium and Grand Cru wines.
What The Critics Say
93/100 View from the Cellar, John Gillman
"The 2014 Brücke Spätlese is really a lovely wine this year, The wine offers up a lovely and quite complex bouquet of tangerine, apple, a classy base of slate, wild yeasts, a nice touch of Brücke spice tones and a topnote of apple blossoms. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish, pure and seamless, with a rock solid core, ripe acids and excellent length and grip on the focused and vibrant finish. This is really a lovely bottle of Spätlese. 2020-2050."
17/20 Jancis Robinson
"Fragrant with grapefruit and a slight note of blossom. Fine purity and a really clear window onto the peachy citrus fruit. Shapely and long. Lovely. (JH)"
94/100 Parker's Wine Advocate, Stephan Reinhardt
"The 2014 Riesling Spätlese Oberhäuser Brücke--from Dönnhoff's famous Eiswein, Auslese and Spätlese vineyard--opens very fine, pure and coolish on the slate-like/flinty nose. Piquant, sweet and juicy on the palate, this is a highly elegant and minerally structured Spätlese with a perfectly ripe acidity. It's always the latest vineyard that has been picked. If there is a vineyard in Dönnhoff's portfolio that is similar to the Saar, it is the Brücke, and especially the 2014 vintage. It's just great."
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