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
97/100 view From the Cellar, John Gillman
"Cornelius Dönnhoff has crafted one of the very best dry Rieslings that I tasted on this trip from the Hermannshöhle
in 2018! The bouquet is deep, complex and again, so very elegant out of the blocks this year, delivering scents of pink
grapefruit, tart tangerine, white flowers, a superb base of slate, lemongrass, citrus peel and just a dollop of upper
register wild yeast tones. On the palate the wine is racy, focused, full-bodied and extremely mineral-driven, with a great
core, laser-like focus and seamlessly balanced on the very, very long, very complex and utterly refined finish. Chapeau!"
19/20 JancisRobinson.com, Michael Schmidt
"Crystal-clear fruit of mirabelle with the purity of the finest Alsace eau de vie. Add the most delicate fragrant touches of white peach and Williams pear and you are in fruit paradise, though it’s titillation not exuberance this fragrance excels in. The palate works in a similar way, putting exhilarating freshness before juicy abundance. Take a fine sprinkling of mineral rock dust, add the merest hint of exotic spice, and you have a contender for greatest Grosses Gewächs of 2018. (MS)!" Drink 2021 - 2030
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