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
"Distinctively fragrant, with a touch of blossom. Just smells of spring. And tastes of spring too. Sprightly, elegant, delicate and still beautifully persistent. Lingering. GV (JH)." Drink 2018 - 2025
93/100 Wine Enthusiast (2014 vintage)
"White flowers and lime skins juxtapose smoke and slate on the nose of this ethereal kabinett. Delicately sweet, as if gilded by hibiscus nectar, it fills the palate with waves of sunny yellow-stone fruit and tart lemons. A lovely wine that should show its youthful effervescence through 2020."
91/100 View from the Cellar, John Gillman (2015 vintage)
"The 2015 Leistenberg Kabinett is a bit more powerful in personality in this vintage than is customarily the case for this wine at Weingut Dönnhoff. The deep and classy nose delivers a blend of apple, white cherry, slate, a nice touch of wild yeasts and a topnote of spring flowers. On the palate the wine is medium-full, long and nascently complex, with a good core, fine cut and grip and a very long, succulent finish. This is not as filigreed as many of the Kabinetten that I tasted from the vintage, but it is a beautifully proportioned wine of style and grace."
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