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
16.5+/20 Jancis Robinson MW
"Discreet nose opens up to white pepper and lilies only very gradually. Creamy texture with lots buried in there. Still extremely youthful. Builds to a long finish. No excess of acidity." Drink 2019 - 2027
97+/100 Parker's Wine Advocate, Stephan Rienhardt (2015 vintage)
"The 2015 (Niederhäuser) Hermannshöhle Riesling GG is cool and smoky on the nose--very clear and aristocratic, like always--with lemon and fine stony flavors, but also hints of pineapple, herbs and flint stones. What purity, depth and finesse there is here! On the palate, this is a full-bodied, rich, intense and elegant Riesling that's bottled only to be enjoyed in the next decade. It is deep, complex and mystical, and the texture is ripe and round--whereas the minerals are still sorting themselves out. This wine is still in the cellar, preparing itself to shine one day. All I can do today is testify to its complexity and depth, as well as its vitality and lemon freshness from the slate terroir."
96/100 View From the Cellar, John Gillman (2015 vintage)
"The 2015 Grosses Gewächs from the Hermannshöhle is utterly complete and a great wine in the making. Whereas the Dellchen and Felsenberg are cut from the more powerful side of the vintage, the Hermannshöhle really exudes the elegance and seamless beauty that the top 2015ers have in spades. The stunning nose soars from the glass in a still quite youthful blend of grapefruit, tart orange, a gorgeous base of slate, petrol, wild yeasts and a topnote of lemongrass. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, pure and superbly well-balanced, with great depth in the mid-palate, racy acids and great grip and focus on the very long and very, very promising finish. This will be a great bottle of Hermannshöhle GG and is my favorite Grand Cru dry Riesling in the cellar this year." Drink 2022 - 2065+
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