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
19/20 JancisRobinson.com, Michael Schmidt
"As pure as the driven snow is just an old cliché, but one might be tempted to leave the description there in view of the inadequacy of words to describe the sophistication of the Dellchen. The fruit is filigree, the minerality cool and invigorating, the acidity exhilarating. Proof that opulence and power are not the be all and end all of great Riesling. (MS"
95/100 View From the Cellar, John Gillman
"To my mind, the Dellchen often produces the most muscular Grosses Gewächs bottling
from Weingut Dönnhoff, so I wondered how it might turn out this year, where there was already
so much potential for power inherent in the vintage. Much to my surprise, the 2018 Dellchen is supremely elegant this year, offering up a sophisticated bouquet of sweet grapefruit, tart apple,
wild yeasts, a beautiful base of minerality, orange blossoms and lemongrass. On the palate the
wine is pure, full-bodied, racy and utterly suave in its sense of balance and inner harmony, with
bright acids and a very long, primary and promising finish. A great wine by any measure!" Drink 2030 - 2070
95/100 Decanter, Anne Krebiehl MW
"From a site of slate and porphyry facing the Nahe river and from Cornelius Dönnhoff's capable hands, this is an expression of stone and sun. A very scented nose of citric ripeness sets the tone. The palate is mild and fresh at the same time, pristine and vivid but beautifully balanced and ripe. Hints of juicy stone fruit shine through on the concentrated, svelte palate but the finish belongs entirely to lasting, refreshing zestiness. Drink 2025 - 2040
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