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 Helmut has grown the family holdings from 4 hectares to a still modest 20 hectares of lovingly managed vineyards. 80% of which are Rielsing (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 View From the Cellar, John Gillman
"The 2018 Felsenberg GG is also absolutely outstanding this year. The bouquet is impressively expressive at this early
stage, soaring from the glass in a blaze of pear, tart orange, a beautiful base of slate minerality, wild yeasts, a touch of
fleur de sel and a potpourri of floral scents in the upper register. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused and
seamless, with outstanding mid-palate depth, powerful mineral drive and great cut and grip on the long, perfectly
balanced and youthful finish. This will be show stopping juice in the fullness of time." From Schlossböckelheim's stony, volcanic soils, the 2016 Nahe Riesling Felsenberg "GG" 'Felsentürmchen' offers a very pure and delicate bouquet of crushed stones and ripe seed fruits. Lush and intense on the palate with generous but finessed fruit, this is a very elegant and well-structured Riesling with great balance and a long, salty-piquant finish. Very long and powerful yet pure and very charming."
18.5/20 JancisRobinson.com, Michael Schmidt
"Imagine a cool mountain stream running through a citrus-fruit grove and you might be in the mountains of Mallorca, on the other hand you may just be inhaling the ethereal fragrance of Dönnhoff’s Felsenberg. On the palate the delightfully zesty citrus fruit gets a fine sprinkling of mineral dust, tingling acidity and some indefinable savoury piquancy that leads to elation. (MS)." Drink 2021 - 2030
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