Dönnhoff hit the bull’s eye in 2017, producing many of the finest dry Riesling in this remarkable vintage. Here some background.
The vintage required a little bit of skills to manage the zest and potential inherent power. But at the top, some truly brilliant wines were made, as we explain in our article review of the 2017 dry German Riesling.
One wine underlines the greatness of the vintage like few others. The remarkable 2017er Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle GG proved a highlight of the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 43 (Oct 2018).
Weingut Dönnhoff is one of the Household names in the Nahe valley with a history going back over 200 years. After taking it over in 1971, Helmut Dönnhoff brought it to the forefront of quality in the region. His son Cornelius joined him on this now quite sizeable Estate today (approx. 30 ha today) in 2007.
Year-in year out, as if it was the easiest thing on earth, the father-son tandem have been producing highly refined dry and sweet Riesling.
The Dönnhoffs outdid however themselves in 2017, despite the difficult conditions as Cornelius DÖnnhoff explained: "The frost in April led to some secondary shoots developing with 2-3 weeks of delay. In practice, we needed to manage two vintages on the same vine. This also meant many passes through all our vineyards at harvest time. Also, the combination of acidity and inherent presence suited our style of winemaking, based on little pre-fermentation cold soak.”
This transpired into the bottled wines: As our tastings have shown, all its GG bottlings are among the finest of the vintage and many made it onto our list of highlights.
One of the prides of the Dönnhoffs is their sizeable holdings (5 ha) in the Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle. This vineyard has a unique terroir, as Cornelius underlined: “The terroir is rather unique with some black clay intertwined with volcanic and limestone veins. Also, the fact that the vineyard bends over 90° makes it suitable both for fruity-styled wines on the east-orientated side and dry wines on the full south-exposed site.”
The 2017er Hermannshöhle GG was made no differently than in previous vintages, as Cornelius reported: “We always use a combination of tank and large cask in the fermentation and aging of each of our lots. This was no different in 2017. Also bottling happened as usual, in July.”
The result is however a feast for the senses. The wine blends zest and finesse with the tell-tale finesse that has made the success of the Estate over the years.
If this particular dry Riesling from Dönnhoff is not available in your part of the world, maybe one of its other bottlings is. As we mentioned, we found all the GG bottlings remarkable and to be recommended. Fortunately, the Estate extended its portfolio in 2017 and the range of GG bottlings now includes one from the Krötenpfuhl and one from the Höllenpfad (im Mühlenberg).
The remarkable set of 2017er GG bottlings by Dönnhoff was reviewed in the Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 43 (Oct 2018). You are a subscriber and miss this Issue? Simply send us a request by email and we will be happy to send you a copy. You are not yet a subscriber and wish to get this Issue? Subscribe free of charge by registering yourself here below and ask us for a copy by email.
Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Trocken GG
The 2017er Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle GG delivers a breathtaking nose made of zesty fruits such as grapefruit, lime, yuzu and tangerine peel as well as spices, aniseed herbs and refreshing minty elements. The wine starts off on the fruity side on the palate but quickly gains in focus and intensity as glorious smoky and zesty flavors kick in. These lead one seamlessly to a hugely long, intense finish full of mineral and salty elements. This is a stunning dry Riesling in the making! 2027-2047
© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.