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
94/100 Antonio Galloni Vinous
"Musky hints of peony and iris mingle with sea breeze and scents of ripe white peach on a nose that reflects the floral and marine mineral mystery that seem to be part and parcel of Riesling from this great site. While the texture is silken, there are insistent impingements of mustard seed, peach fuzz and crystalline stones that add to the sense of vibrancy and invigoration conveyed on a superbly sustained finish. The cooling, inhalative sense of floral and herbal perfume hauntingly remains even after the fruit and mineral flavors have finally subsided. This wine reinforces the intuition I had when tasting Schneider’s collection, namely that this vintage of Dellchen will continue in bottle to give Hermannshöhle unusually tough competition."
97/100 Parker's Wine Advocate, Stephan Reinhardt (2015 vintage)
"From slate and porphyry soils in the terraced Norheim cru, the 2015 (Norheimer) Dellchen Riesling GG opens with a perfectly ripe, superbly defined and highly refined Riesling bouquet with stony, lemony, ripe apple and mocha flavors from perfectly ripe pips. This grand cru is truly complex and elegant on the nose, with fine floral and herbal flavors. On the palate, this is a pure, highly elegant, intense and silky textured Riesling with great finesse and expression. There is really great balance and length here, and it is not exhausting at all. The finish is a parade of minerals, salts, and the finesse of the best Dellchen I have ever tasted, and it does not end too soon to celebrate itself. This is a beautifully structured and smooth Riesling--a legend of clarity, finesse and elegance."
94/100 View From the Cellar, Martin Gillman (2015 vintage)
"The 2015 Dellchen GG is a superb wine in the making, but it is still quite young and will need some time in the cellar to start to unwind. The bouquet offers up a nascently complex constellation of grapefruit, tart orange, petrol, wild yeasts, lemongrass, lovely minerality, dried flowers and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and bottomless at the core, with racy acids, excellent focus and grip, impeccable balance and a serious load of backend energy on the very long finish."
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