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
93/100 View from the Cellar, John Gillman
"The Leistenberg has the oldest vines of all the Dönnhoff parcels and they have really excelled in 2018. This beautiful
Kabinett offers up a complex bouquet of white cherries, apple, salty slate, bee pollen and a lovely mix of spring flowers
and fruit blossoms. On the palate the wine is medium-full, pure and filigreed, with its beautiful fruit tones stretched
taught over its minerality, with bright, zesty acids and lovely lift and grip on the long and complex finish. Just beautiful." Drink 2022 - 2060
92/100 Parker's Wine Advocate, Stephan Reinhardt
"The 2018 Oberhäuser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett is darker toned and ripe on the flinty nose, with its crushed stone aromas. Richer and more intense on the palate, this is an almost creamy-textured and persistently salty Leistenberg that is quite rich but still playful and stimulating. It's just more generous and solemn on the palate. Perhaps more a Spätlese style but very stimulating in fact. Tasted in July 2019. This is riper and more powerful than the 2017." Drink 2022 - 2035
92/100 Decanter, James Button
"Grown on grey clay slate soils on a steep southeast-facing site, this has a fresh nose of green apple. In the mouth it has evident sweetness (55g/l as it turns out - levels in 2018 were higher than usual), with more of that fresh apple but this time fleshed out with some richer honey and a hint of stone fruit. Despite this, it retains great balance thanks to its very present acidity. Barrel sample." Drink 2019 - 2035
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